What is Medicaid Retroactive Eligibility?
The 2019 budget proposals of the Florida House and Senate would permanently eliminate retroactive Medicaid eligibility (RME). RME coverage that goes back three months prior to the month of Medicaid application. Through legislative session, the proposals were discussed in the context of Senate Bill 192 and House Bill 5201.
Floridians are only eligible for up to 30 days of retroactive coverage once they qualify for Medicaid. This is less than the 90 days originally granted by Florida Medicaid. During the 2018 session, Florida lawmakers voted to cut the RME period for non-pregnant adults over 21. The 30-day policy went into effect on Feb. 1 and will remain in place until June 30 unless state lawmakers vote to extend the change.
Under this plan, pregnant women and children are still eligible for 90 days of coverage, but it leaves three critical groups of people vulnerable to medical debt and bankruptcy: seniors, adults with disabilities and parents taking care of minor children. They 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.
Timeline to Becoming Law
Unfortunately, the proposal to cut RME moved fast through the legislative process. It is now a part of the health care budget conversation. Floridians must speak up now to stop this change from becoming permanent.
An analysis of the House and the Senate's proposed budgets show that neither chamber recommends measures that would help residents access affordable health care coverage.
Both budgets fail to restore the $98 million Medicaid cut in the current year budget that eliminates Retroactive Medicaid Eligibility (RME) for non-pregnant adults.
Send the Florida Senate and House leadership a letter in support of this crucial program for Floridians!