Arkansas’ Medicaid rolls fell by more than 72,000 in August, according to new figures released by the state Department of Human Services on Friday (Sept. 8).
Arkansas is unwinding, or redetermining, Medicaid eligibility for patients as part of the ending of the federal COVID-19 pandemic. There was a continuous enrollment requirement during the crisis that prevented DHS from removing most ineligible individuals from Medicaid. State law requires the unwinding process be completed in six months.
In its fifth month of redetermination, DHS officials said 72,519 Arkansans had their Medicaid cases closed – a number that includes those added to the rolls during the public health emergency and regular renewals. In August, DHS said more than 50,000 cases were renewed after eligibility was confirmed.
As of Sept. 1, total Medicaid enrollment was 877,544, including 388,558 children, 239,990 on ARHOME, and 248,996 other adults. Since redetermination began on April 1, there have been more than 370,000 removed from Medicaid rolls.
“We have now completed redeterminations for five of the six months of our unwinding effort, and so far our incredible eligibility workers have confirmed eligibility for more than a quarter of a million Arkansans,” said DHS Secretary Kristi Putnam. “By discontinuing coverage for beneficiaries who no longer qualify for Medicaid, we are ensuring that these resources are available to eligible Arkansans who truly need them.”
Several states have been ordered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to pause their redeterminations or reinstate coverage for some beneficiaries because of issues with their eligibility system processes. Arkansas is not one of these states, and DHS said it anticipates continuing its comprehensive unwinding plan over the sixth and final month.
The top reasons for closures include disenrollments based on:
- Failing to send back required eligibility information;
- Failing to return requested information;
- Household income exceeding Medicaid limitations;
- Not meeting requirements for programs; and
- Client-requested closures.