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June 8, 2018

Florida Waiver Amendment Request Could Hurt Patients

Florida’s section 1115 waiver amendment request could have harmful implications for individuals with serious, acute and chronic conditions, according to ten national patient advocacy organizations as they urged the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reject the proposed waiver amendment.

In the waiver amendment, the state of Florida proposes to eliminate the three-month retroactive eligibility period for Medicaid for non-pregnant adults. Retroactive eligibility in Medicaid prevents gaps in coverage by covering individuals for up to 90 days (or quarter of the year) prior to the month of application, assuming the individual is eligible for Medicaid during that time frame. Approximately 39,000 Floridians of this description received coverage through this program during fiscal year 2016.

“Retroactive eligibility allows patients who have been diagnosed with serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease, to begin treatment without being burdened by medical debt prior to their official eligibility determination,” state the organizations in a comment letter to HHS.

The organizations also noted the results of an Ohio study, which found that Ohio hospitals could accrue as much as $2.5 billion more in uncompensated care as a result of a similar proposal.

The letter was signed by the American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lutheran Services in America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation and the National Psoriasis Foundation.

A copy of the letter can be found here.