Medicaid eligibility trial rescheduled to July

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By merznatalia via iStock for WMNF News.

©2024 The News Service of Florida

A federal judge has rescheduled a trial to start in July in a class-action lawsuit over people being dropped from Florida’s Medicaid program after the end of a federal public health emergency declared because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard planned to hold a trial this month, but it was postponed because of a death in her family.

Howard held a status conference Tuesday in the case and will hear trial testimony on July 11 from one of the plaintiffs, Kimber Taylor, before holding the remainder of the trial starting the week of July 29 or Aug. 5, according to a document posted Wednesday on an online docket.

The lawsuit alleges that the state did not properly inform people before dropping them from the health care program.

The dispute is rooted in the spring 2023 end of the federal public health emergency, which started in 2020.

Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments, and Washington agreed to pick up more of the tab for the program as part of the emergency.

But in exchange for the extra money, states had to agree that they wouldn’t drop people from the Medicaid rolls during the emergency.

Florida’s program grew from about 3.8 million beneficiaries in January 2020 to nearly 5.78 million in April 2023. At least in part, the increase stemmed from the program being unable to drop people who otherwise might not qualify because of their income levels.

After the end of the public health emergency, the state began what is known as an eligibility “redetermination” process.

That process led to hundreds of thousands of people being dropped from the program.

As of last month, enrollment was about 4.46 million, according to data posted on the state Agency for Health Care Administration website.

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