Medicaid recertification process restarts this year for 45,000 Louisvillians
One in seven Medicaid recipients in Louisville will need to recertify their eligibility over the next year to avoid losing coverage.
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services, or DMS, paused their usual process that required annual recertification. But the DMS is putting the process back into place. Anyone who receives a letter or notification from the DMS may have to recertify by sending in information to prove they are still eligible for the health insurance benefit.
According to Mayor Craig Greenberg, 95% of Louisvillians are insured this year, which is a record for the city. Ten years ago, 12% of Louisvillians did not have health insurance. Greenberg attributed the increase in part to Gov. Andy Beshear’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility in 2020. He expanded it to cover the self-employed, independent contractors, freelance workers, substitute teachers and child care workers employed by religious groups and nonprofits.
In Louisville, about 300,000 people are covered through Medicaid, Greenberg said. At least one in seven will have to recertify this year to continue receiving coverage.
“We cannot afford to have 45,000 people lose coverage because they don't know what's going on, because they miss a mail notification or they aren't sure how to respond,” Greenberg said.
People who need to be recertified this cycle will receive a notification in the mail sometime before May 2024, said Priscilla Easterling, the outreach coordinator for KY Voices for Health.
People have 30 days after receiving a Medicaid recertification notification to respond, then about 45 more days before they must submit the requested information, said Easterling, who is also an authorized “kynector” through the KYnect health insurance marketplace. That may include proof of income, a letter from a non-household member who knows the situation, or proof of residency.
If the recipient misses the deadline, Easterling said, they have an additional 90 days to send in the requested documentation to re-enroll in the plan. If the person is deemed eligible, they should be able to receive back-coverage.
“It’s important to remember that this is just a return to normal. These are just standard processes and it’s just that because of the pandemic many folks have never had to go through them,” Easterling said.
Bart Irwin, the CEO of Family Health Centers, pointed out that the notifications will be spread out over time and Medicaid participants should keep an eye out.
“That recertification will take place over a period of 12 months,” Irwin said. “Recipients may not get a letter right away. It may be six months, it may be 10 months.”
He said that recipients can go to the Kynect website to ask if and when the recertification process will take place. Kynect has other resources and answers about the recertification process. Kynectors are also stationed around the city at Family Health Centers, the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency, and Neighborhood Places.
Mia Anderson, a kynector for the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency, said the agency rotates these facilitators in community centers and locations around the city. A permanent station is also set up at the Goodwill Resource Center at the intersection of Broadway and South Campbell Street.
Patricia Hawkins runs the Kynect booth at the Broadway Goodwill Tuesdays through Thursdays and says it's some of the most rewarding work she does. She said she helps a dozen or two people each day understand the benefits they may be eligible for and help them access those resources.
“I help them clear up some of those common misconceptions,” Hawkins said, “and we get to connect them to whatever resources we can.”