BATON ROUGE– Starting this week, people with health coverage through Louisiana Medicaid or the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) and who are enrolled in similar programs in other states as a result of being displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita will receive notice that they will no longer be covered by Louisiana Medicaid.
Under guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health Medicaid Program will send letters to Medicaid and LaCHIP enrollees living in other states explaining that they have 45 days before their Medicaid coverage from Louisiana will end. This is an extension from the 10 days notice Medicaid normally gives to people when coverage is ending.
Louisiana Medicaid will send the first group of letters to Medicaid enrollees who have signed up for Medicaid in five states (Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee) who shared their enrollment files with Louisiana. Efforts are still underway to obtain similar files from other states that offered temporary coverage to hurricane evacuees, including Texas, so that similar mailings can be done to those individuals in the coming months.
“We worked with our displaced residents and medical providers in other states in the weeks after the hurricanes to make sure the people Louisiana Medicaid serves could get the treatment they needed, even out of state,” said Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH Secretary. “We are giving people 45 days notice that since they are no longer residing in Louisiana they need to seek coverage either by a private insurance plan or another state’s Medicaid program.”
In order for Louisiana Medicaid to cover a medical service or treatment, the provider rendering the treatment must be enrolled as a Louisiana Medicaid provider. People living out of state have difficulty finding doctors who accept their Louisiana Medicaid card.
“If you enroll in Medicaid where you are living, you will have a much easier time finding a doctor and accessing the health care you need,” Cerise said. People who would like to restart their Louisiana Medicaid coverage ending because they have moved back to the state can call the New Orleans Regional Medicaid Office at 504-599-0656.
If an evacuee moves back to Louisiana after enrolling in another state’s Medicaid program, he or she will have to re-apply for Louisiana Medicaid. To request an application, people can call the free Louisiana Medicaid hotline at 1-888-342-6207 or visit www.medicaid.dhh.louisiana.gov. Louisiana Medicaid covers more than 1 million Louisiana residents, including low-income children, pregnant women and people 65 and older and also people with disabilities.
Because each state has its own Medicaid program with different applications and eligibility requirements, people must submit a new application for coverage in the state where they are residing. Louisiana will include a list of contact numbers for each state Medicaid program with the letter sent to enrollees.
Each state program has different eligibility criteria and covers different services, so questions about coverage in other states should be addressed to that state’s program. All states have programs for children that are similar to LaCHIP and parents can call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669) for free to be connected to the program for children in the state where they are living. More information is available online at www.insurekidsnow.gov.