Arkansas not among states with Medicaid disenrollment glitch

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 1,089 views 

Arkansas is not one of the states affected by a Medicaid enrollment process that a federal agency says is inappropriately disenrolling some children because it is conducting automatic renewals at the family level rather than the individual level.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter Aug. 20 to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands warning about problems with those automatic, or “ex parte,” renewals. The letter says those issues “must be addressed immediately.”

Arkansas, like other states, has been disenrolling ineligible Medicaid recipients since April for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The state like others received extra funding from the federal government because it put a pause on disenrollments during the pandemic.

CMS believes a number of states’ systems are programmed incorrectly so that automatic renewals for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are being done at the family level rather than the individual level, despite the fact that individuals including children may have different eligibility requirements for Medicaid or CHIP.

But Arkansas is not one of those states. Arkansas Department of Human Services spokesperson Gavin Lesnick said all ex parte renewals here are conducted on an individual basis.

“We have evaluated our eligibility system and we are in compliance with CMS regulations,” he said in an email to Talk Business. & Politics. “It is important to note that while CMS has required some states to pause Medicaid disenrollments, Arkansas is not one of these states.”

The letter from CMS says states having the issue identified by the letter must pause procedural disenrollments for affected individuals, reinstate coverage for those individuals, implement CMS-approved strategies to prevent future disenrollments, and fix state systems and processes to ensure renewals are done in accordance with federal Medicaid requirements.