During the 2018 session, Florida lawmakers voted to cut the Retroactive Medicaid Eligibility (RME) period for non-pregnant adults over 21. Seniors, people with disabilities, and parents taking care of minor children are now only eligible for up to 30 days of retroactive coverage once they qualify for Medicaid. This is less than the 90 days still reserved for pregnant women and children.
The federal government approved the change to Medicaid until the end of the 2019 fiscal year on June 30. As part of approval in 2019, CMS required the state to conduct an independent evaluation of the impact of the change. Specifically, the state was to determine whether the change incentivized individuals to obtain and maintain health coverage, even when healthy. Florida released its final report on Jan. 10 finding that they don’t have enough information at this point to gauge the impact.
Last year Senator Bean introduced a bill that would have permanently shortened the retroactive period. The bill ultimately failed but legislators still reduced funding for Medicaid retroactive eligibility for the 2019-2020 fiscal year by $104 million.
This year, Senate Bill 52, filed by Sen. Bean, would permanently cut back the time Floridians have to apply for Medicaid if they want healthcare costs retroactively covered. On Jan 21, the Senate Health Policy Committee voted 6-3 to permanently eliminate the 90-day period that seniors and disabled people previously had to apply for Florida's Medicaid program. Some members of the committee tried unsuccessfully to at least amend SB 52 so that the change in the Medicaid enrollment process would end in July 2021.
Last week, for the second time the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee delayed considering SB 52, legislation that would permanently eliminate the 90-day retroactive eligibility period. The expectation is that a one-year extension of the policy will be included in the Senate budget bill. The House has already included such a one-year extension in a budget bill that was released last week.
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