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Arkansas Department of Human Services releases first report on Medicaid unwinding following the Public Health Emergency

05/08/2023

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Today, the Arkansas Department of Human Services reported figures reflecting the first month of redeterminations as part of its six-month effort to unwind the Medicaid rolls following the end of the continuous coverage requirement that was in effect during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). This requirement during the PHE prevented DHS from removing most ineligible individuals from Medicaid, but normal eligibility rules resumed on April 1. DHS is now working to comply with normal eligibility rules, which are set by Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

At the end of April, 72,802* cases were closed, including 44,667 beneficiaries whose coverage had previously been extended because of the special eligibility rules during the PHE. The other 28,135 cases were closed as part of normal operations. This compares to approximately 25,000 disenrollments each month in 2018 and 2019 prior to the pandemic. Among all cases due in April, 61,236 beneficiaries had their coverage renewed after their eligibility was confirmed under normal eligibility rules.

DHS is moving swiftly to disenroll individuals who are no longer eligible to ensure that Medicaid resources go to beneficiaries who truly need them, and this will continue in the coming months as the unwinding progresses. It is important to note that Arkansas’s Medicaid rolls increased by more than 230,000 beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect total enrollment to continue to decline as we reevaluate eligibility, and we will report the numbers each month during this process. 

Medicaid beneficiaries who believe they have been disenrolled in error may appeal the determination. If individuals were disenrolled because they did not respond or provide requested information, they can provide the information now to have their coverage reinstated. Additional information is available at ar.gov/renew

Individuals who no longer qualify for Medicaid can access health care through other avenues, including employer-based insurance or on the federal health care marketplace. Information on marketplace plans is available at healthcare.gov

DHS has been working for more than a year to prepare for the end of the PHE. These efforts have included making calls to recipients, meeting with numerous providers, partners, and stakeholder groups across the state, conducting awareness campaigns that point recipients and partners to online toolkits with additional information, engaging paid advertising, and more. We also added staff to help handle increased renewals and answer questions. 

Beneficiaries who need assistance can visit ar.gov/accessanywhere, or they can call 855-372-1084.

* This is the total number of disenrollments in April. DHS is required to submit to CMS a report that includes the total number of disenrollments among cases that were due in April. This figure in the report to CMS is lower because it only includes cases that were due in April instead of all cases.

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