I know how hard it is to navigate the system, because my two children and I are on AHCCCS coverage.
If you are one of the 2.5 million Arizonans who gets your health insurance through Medicaid, you will need to renew your coverage this year.
With the COVID-19 public health emergency coming to an end, there will be less federal money coming to our state to cover people. That’s why Arizona’s Medicaid system, which we call ‘Access’ (AHCCCS), is reviewing the eligibility of every person on Medicaid.
This will take place over the next year starting on April 1.
As a member of Healthcare Rising Arizona, an organization of ordinary Arizonans working to fix the healthcare problems in our state, I know how much people need clear communication on issues like this. There are four things you need to know:
1. This year, Arizona is reviewing eligibility to make sure you still qualify.
2. You need to keep an eye on your mail about your renewal.
3. If you get a letter from AHCCCS, you should respond right away.
4. Take a moment and make sure that your address and contact information are correct in the AHCCCS system so your notice goes to the right address. You can do that by logging in at healthearizonaplus.gov or calling 1-855-432-7587.
With so much potential for missed communication here, many people may get lost in the process. It’s estimated that 600,000 members are at risk of losing Medicaid and KidsCare coverage in Arizona—with half at risk of losing their coverage simply for failing to respond to requests from AHCCCS for information.
I know how hard it is to navigate the system, because my two children and I are also on AHCCCS coverage. I have a disability and cannot work full time, so we can’t afford private health insurance.
As AHCCCS begins reviewing people’s eligibility, I am at risk of losing my coverage and my children’s coverage.
It can feel like a full-time job sometimes to figure it all out. I have to keep close track of all records and letters every year. I can’t tell you how often I have been to one AHCCCS office and was told to present letters they sent me, then to another office and repeat the same process. Hold times can be long on the phone and the website can be confusing, so it’s important to be patient.
As a disabled mother of children who have health issues of their own, we need our coverage. If I lose AHCCCS, I will lose access to a doctor I trust with my whole life. It’s so frustrating to know I am not the only person going through this right now, and many more families will be affected by the disenrollment process.
Arizona’s AHCCCS does a great job providing coverage to 1 in 3 people in our state. But we have to get the word out about renewing coverage to the people it’s hardest to reach: rural communities, homeless families, and people with disabilities.
If it turns out that you are not eligible for coverage after the COVID-19 public health emergency, you’ve got other options. If you no longer qualify, find other low-cost options by calling 2-1-1 or visiting 211.org or coveraz.org/connector/.
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