Sharen C. of Hillsborough County was diagnosed with cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time she qualified for Medicaid coverage under the Public Health Emergency standards. After undergoing cancer treatment, Sharon’s Medicaid coverage was cancelled abruptly and without prior notice when the Public Health Emergency ended and Florida began its Medicaid redetermination. Suddenly Sharen was uninsured and unable to attend follow-up appointments to track the progress of her treatment. She still had a port under her skin that was used to administer her medication. Without regular doctor visits, she had no supplies to continue flushing the port to maintain its viability.
Sharen’s urgent and repeated attempts to contact Florida’s health department yielded no results. “All I was getting was the run around,” Sharen explains. “I was given different numbers to call and waited on hold from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 or 4:00 P.M. every day!”
After speaking with Sharen, Florida Voices for Health reached out to one of our State Navigator partners to request assistance. Fortunately, Sharen qualified for the Hillsborough County Health Care Program, a managed-care plan for residents with limited income and no other state or private coverage options. Within days she was able to receive the follow-up care she urgently needed. If not for this unique safety net program, Sharen might still be waiting for care.
Since the Medicaid redetermination process began in April, Florida has seen some of the highest disenrollment rates in the country. As a result, many Floridians have abruptly lost coverage in the middle of treatments, scheduled surgeries and medications. Those seeking answers and re-enrollment are struggling to contact state agencies. Florida ranks 50th in the US for abandoned calls, and 49th for call time average.
If you or a family member are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage, you may have coverage options. Marketplace Navigators offer free, professional assistance understanding your options and selecting a healthcare plan. To connect with a qualified local Navigator, visit coveringflorida.org.
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