As 53,000 Hoosiers Are Kicked Off Medicaid, Hoosier Action Unveils New Report Outlining Urgent Need To Improve Program
May 31, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
INDIANA – Hoosier Action released today one of the most extensive Medicaid surveys to date, featuring regional profiles on dozens of states, including Indiana. The report, “Strengthening Medicaid: Challenges States Must Address as the Public Health Emergency Ends,” comes after the release of data indicating that the vast majority of the 52,985 Hoosier kids and adults who lost Medicaid coverage last month were disenrolled due to “procedural reasons” as a part of the state’s “return to normal operations” following the pandemic.
Indiana’s high rate (88.5%) of disenrollments for paperwork errors, rather than actual ineligibility, reflects the disproportionate challenges facing Hoosier families trying to navigate Indiana’s overly complex Medicaid programs.
For families with disabilities, like that of mom Jennifer Blythe, Medicaid is the only way they are able to afford to see the doctor or fill essential prescriptions. But, maintaining enrollment has proved challenging according to Blythe, “The system itself seems to be designed to kick people off for any minor offense, such as not checking a box on a form properly. When you finally navigate the system, simply finding a provider who accepts Medicaid is a task that should be considered a full-time job!”
The challenges described by Richards’ family are shared by others in the state. Across four major categories, Indiana Medicaid members reported greater challenges than the national average:
- 48.4% of Hoosiers reported problems applying to Medicaid
- 42.5% of Hoosiers reported problems renewing Medicaid
- 65.3% of Hoosiers on Medicaid had challenges accessing care and services
- 42.5% of Hoosiers on Medicaid went without care last year
Despite the barriers to care facing Hoosier Medicaid members, Indiana’s various Medicaid programs, including Hoosier Healthwise, HIP, and Hoosier Care Connect, provide essential access to healthcare for over 2 million Hoosiers, roughly 1 in 3 and 60% of children in Indiana. The majority of Hoosiers (61.7%) surveyed in the report were either mostly or completely satisfied with the quality of care they received through Medicaid when they were able to get it. Many respondents described how important Medicaid coverage has been for them and their families.
Samantha Richards, a mother from Southern Indiana, works two part-time jobs as a custodian to make ends meet, relies on Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage to her family as neither of her jobs offer it to part-time employees. “My daughter and her father, who is also a recipient of Medicaid, both have mental health issues. So, having Medicaid has been crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for both,” explained Richards.
Should Indiana’s high rate of disenrollment continue every month over the course of the next year, more than 636,000 Hoosiers, roughly 1 in 11 people in the state, would lose their healthcare coverage. “Confusing notices, arbitrary rules, and unnecessary red tape are fueling a potential crisis of uninsurance which threatens Hoosier health, the workforce, and the future of our kids,” explained Hoosier Action’s Communications and Policy Director Tracey Hutchings-Goetz, “But this crisis is preventable. We hope to work with FSSA and hope that they will take both swift action to reduce procedural disenrollments, as well as make longer term changes to increase access to care.”
The national report, entitled “Strengthening Medicaid: Challenges States Must Address as the Public Health Emergency Ends” was written in partnership with People’s Action Institute, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), and Make the Road New York/States. 2,937 Medicaid recipients were surveyed. This report comes just weeks after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 and as Congress negotiates a federal budget that could cut funding for Medicaid and initiate additional barriers to care. Congress set March 31, 2023, as the end date for the continuous Medicaid enrollment provisions and will phase down federal funding through December 2023.
ABOUT HOOSIER ACTION
Hoosier Action is a nonpartisan, homegrown community organization based in Southern Indiana. We believe that all Hoosiers, regardless of how much money they make, should have a say in the decisions which affect their lives.