The Department of Health Medicaid program is in the process of notifying Medicaid and LaCHIP recipients who evacuated from the storm-affected parishes to take the necessary steps to retain their eligibility for health care services.

This week, more than 50,000 families from the New Orleans metropolitan area are being sent informational packets that must be completed and returned in order to maintain Medicaid and/or LaCHIP coverage. The packets contain forms that can be used to update financial eligibility, citizenship, current place of residency and telephone contact numbers.

LDH is urging people getting Medicaid to look for this mailing, and to complete the forms and return them as soon as possible. This is an important step in maintaining eligibility, thus individuals who do not return the forms will lose their Medicaid health care coverage.

“We don’t want to end Medicaid coverage for one Louisiana resident who is in need of health care services. However, we have held out as long as we can from the federally required annual eligibility review of each person receiving Medicaid,” explained Jerry Phillips, LDH Medicaid Director. “For many people getting Medicaid and who were displaced by the storms, it has been much longer than a year since we last conducted this review. This is because we were concerned about our ability to locate people, as well as not wanting to disrupt a person’s medical coverage when they were still recovering from the hurricanes.”

In addition to financial and residency information, LDH is also asking out-of-state Medicaid enrollees to indicate their intent to return to Louisiana. LDH is currently going to continue Medicaid for people who remain out-of-state but intend to return to Louisiana and who are not receiving assistance in another state.

“If someone makes it clear they intend to return home and they continue to need health coverage from Louisiana Medicaid, we will not close their case even if they are living outside of the state,” added Phillips.

He also said that coverage will be maintained for all people who want to remain in the program and who meet all the financial and other eligibility criteria.

Because many Medicaid enrollees have moved, and because it takes time for the mail to reach people, LDH will send follow-up letters in December to everyone who does not respond initially. The second series of letters will provide final notice that Medicaid or LaCHIP coverage will soon end.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about their continued Medicaid coverage is asked to contact DHH’s toll-free Medicaid hotline; 1-888-342-6207.