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Unreturned Paperwork Leaves Thousands Of North Carolinians Without Health Coverage

Source: WFAE

According to a report by N.C. Health News, more than 68,400 North Carolinians have lost Medicaid since the state resumed terminations in June — and 87% were the result of procedural reasons, also referred to as unreturned paperwork. 

“So procedural reasons occur when the state lacks information to make an eligibility determination, so they may lack income information or other documentation that would indicate a person is eligible. So, states are required to access data sources available to them, like state wage data or state unemployment compensation,” Tricia Brooks, a researcher at Georgetown University, told WUNC.

“If there’s enough information to determine someone eligible, the state is supposed to do that and only send a renewal form requesting information from people who they are not able to confirm eligibility. So, if that paperwork is not received, if the state loses it or if the notice never gets to the individual, those individuals will end up being disenrolled for procedural reasons,” Brooks added

N.C. Health News reports that during the federal COVID-19 public health emergency, people enrolled in the Medicaid program were automatically re-enrolled, even if they no longer qualified.

Currently, North Carolina is now faced with verifying eligibility of more than 2.5 million enrollees. According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the “unwinding” of the continuous coverage requirement, could leave as many as 300,000 residents without health insurance.

From June to July, more than 8,600 North Carolinians lost their Medicaid after they were determined to no longer meet the eligibility requirements, and another 59,700 North Carolinians lost coverage due to “procedural reasons”. 

In addition, the state budget delay will continue to increase the number of North Carolinians without coverage, as Medicaid expansion is tied into the passage of the budget. 

State Democrats and Governor Roy Cooper have urged Republicans to implement the much-needed health care coverage, as thousands of North Carolinians’ lives are on the line due to months of stalled negotiations. 
“They are quite literally gambling with my life,” Anthony Brooks, a 57-year-old Medicaid participant from Beaufort County, wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “With my complicated medical issues, the fact that I am looking at losing my health insurance could very literally be a death sentence for me.”

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