Children on Medicaid continues to decline

3 weeks 9 hours 51 minutes ago Tuesday, January 28 2020 Jan 28, 2020 Tuesday, January 28, 2020 3:19:00 PM CST January 28, 2020 in News
By: Stephanie LaChance, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY—The decline of children covered by Medicaid in Missouri has left some lawmakers questioning the Department of Social Services why there is a decrease in people on state assisted healthcare.

The number of children on Medicaid in the state of Missouri has declined by 44,000 in the last year. 

House representatives met Tuesday to acknowledge how the Department of Social Services has continued to see a decline month by month this past year. 

In January of 2019, more than 563,000 kids were on Medicaid and in December of 2019 only 519,000 remained.

Patrick Luebbering, the department’s Chief Financial Officer admitted there is challenges the department has struggled with. 

“We have seen a significant drop over the last couple of years,” Luebbering said.

Luebbering mentioned that their electronic system is outdated in notifying recipients when they need to reapply themselves and their children for Medicaid.

Jennifer Tidball, the department’s Acting Director, said part of the problem is that medicaid recipients are not updating where they live. 

“You have to maintain accurate information with us like your most recent address, if you don’t we can’t connect with you,” Tidball said.

Parents who don’t reapply for medicaid for their family are left with no form of health care for their children. 

Representative Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, said that the state should take some form of responsibility for not renewing medicaid for children.

“We hid information, we hid the issue that we knew we had as as state and not appropriately verifying information for people who qualify for services,” Lavender said.

Representative David Wood, R- Versailles, said parents need to take the time to make sure their applications are up to date in order for the call center to process them. 

“We were not doing a good job of confirming the incomes and verifying these applications,” Wood said. “There is a direct connection in relation to the children dropping as a result of the adults dropping their family coverage.”

The Department of Social Services mentioned that they plan on fixing systemic issues by next summer or fall.

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