JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Three Florida residents filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that state agencies fail to adequately notify low-income and disabled people when their public health insurance is ending.
The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the three Florida residents in Jacksonville Federal Court by the Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program, according to court documents. The defendants are the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The agencies did not immediately respond to emails asking for comment.
More than 182,000 Florida residents have received termination letters since April, when a coronavirus policy banning states from taking people off Medicaid ended, while hundreds of thousands more are expected to lose insurance coverage over the next year, residents in the state say Legal action.
Many of the low-income earners who lose their insurance coverage have no idea whether the state is making the right decision or how to appeal their loss of insurance coverage, they argue. Residents are calling for an end to the ongoing reporting process and the reinstatement of insurance coverage for people who previously received erroneous termination notices.
State authorities have known since 2018 that the clues were confusing but continued to use them, leaving many without insurance coverage for critical care, prescriptions, vaccinations and follow-up care, National Health Law Program attorney Sarah Grusin said in a statement.
“Basically, for due process, the state must ensure that people receive adequate and meaningful notice of the state's decision and have an opportunity to appeal before insurance coverage ends,” Grusin said. “That does not happen.”
The National Health Law Program said this is the first lawsuit in the nationwide dissolution of Medicaid, as nearly 4 million people in the US have been disqualified from Medicaid since this spring.
Amanda Avery, another attorney with the National Health Law Program, said in a statement that while the scale of layoffs was particularly egregious in Florida, similar patterns can be seen in many other states.
“For months, advocates have warned state and federal agencies that the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the Medicaid winding-up process would result in massive coverage losses for people still eligible for Medicaid,” Aver said. “We're seeing this play out in real time.”
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