Earlier this year, the Florida legislature and Governor have voted to eliminate the three-month RME period for non-pregnant adults over 21. Under this plan, pregnant women and children are still eligible for 90 days of coverage, but three critical groups of people vulnerable to medical debt and bankruptcy: seniors, adults with disabilities and parents taking care of minor children.
Parents and seniors would only have coverage going back to the first day of the month that the person applies. If an eligible parent or senior files on March 28th, Medicaid would only pay for coverage going back to March 1st. If an application is filed on March 4th, Medicaid will still only cover expenses up to March 1st.
According to Dr. Larry Polivka, director of the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University:
The majority of nursing home admission decisions are made during hospitalizations. Most people do not plan to go into a nursing home unless it is for a short-term rehab stay that is covered by Medicare for the elderly. The transition of a person from a hospital to a nursing home for an anticipated long-term stay may be both traumatic and frenetic.
Medicaid established retroactive eligibility as a safeguard for individuals and caregivers faced with these difficult placement decisions, so they have time to understand and apply for assistance with the high cost of nursing home care that middle- and low-income people would not be able to afford for a long-term stay.
Most Floridians do not know what this will mean for aging parents who have a stroke and don’t realize they may need Medicaid-funded long-term care, including nursing home placement, until they have used up their Medicare benefit, which only covers short-term rehab stays.
Floridians now have until June 5, 2018 at 11:00 pm to submit comments to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid before these changes are final.
This is our chance to help preserve this crucial benefit for Florida's families!