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Director of state human services agency says 25K people under threat of Medicaid cutoff

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas officials say around 25,000 Medicaid recipients have been notified that their coverage is set to end later this month, following an eligibility check.

The number includes residents who are enrolled in the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1LqAaxg ) reported.

Director John Selig of the state Department of Human Services said Thursday that their coverage is scheduled to end July 31 because they didn't respond to request for information within 10 days. But he said their coverage won't be disrupted if they provide the information before the end of the month.

The first round of annual checks should have started last fall, but was delayed until a month ago because of difficulties the agency had encountered in replacing its 25-year-old electronic eligibility-verification and enrollment system.

Selig told a task force that the department has used the new system to check the eligibility of around 150,000 private-option enrollees and other Medicaid recipients.

The agency has said that it expects to have the annual checks completed before a Sept. 30 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Citing concerns about costs, Gov. Asa Hutchinson called on the Legislature earlier this year to create a task force to recommend changes to the state's Medicaid program, including an alternative way of covering private-option enrollees after 2016.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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