Mississippi’s Medicaid rolls keep shrinking

Published: Oct. 19, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s Medicaid rolls are shrinking. And for thousands, that coverage has been dropped in the last few months.

Imagine showing up at the doctor’s office only to find out you don’t have health care coverage anymore.

That’s happened to some of you in recent months. More than 81,000 Mississippians have been dropped from Medicaid as part of the “unwinding” since the COVID-19-era continuous enrollment provision ended.

“We’re in the communities a lot,” explained Oleta Fitzgerald, Southern Regional Director with the Children’s Defense Fund. “So, we have understood from those visits, and being with those groups of people that folks just simply are not aware that, you know, they had to go back and recertify the Medicaid following COVID.”

Oleta Fitzgerald and the Children’s Defense Fund have been trying to fill in some of the gaps but admit they don’t have the resources or reach of the government.

“Most of the outreach that has gone on from the state levels has been through the internet,” she noted. “And a lot of people do not have access to the internet. So, we have to engage in different strategies to reach these families.”

But as Dr. John Gaudet explains, it’s not just 81 thousand plus Mississippians who’ve lost coverage.

“We estimate about 45,000 of those disenrollments have been for children,” said pediatrician Dr. John Gaudet. “And this is children, that most of them may be healthy. But there may be chronic medical problems going on in children who are premature or have chronic diseases such as diabetes or asthma. And they need their preventative care they need their not just their preventive care, but also their wellness care, in order to detect problems before they progress to a point where it’s more expensive to take care of them.”

More than 70 percent of the disenrollments in Mississippi have been procedural, meaning they may still be eligible but there were paperwork issues.

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