BATON ROUGE—People living in 10 states, including Texas, who have health care coverage from Louisiana Medicaid or the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) and who are or were enrolled in similar programs in other states as a result of being displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita will no longer be covered by Louisiana Medicaid.
Under guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Medicaid Program will send letters to Louisiana Medicaid and LaCHIP enrollees living in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Texas, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Utah and Oregon 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 has already notified people in five other states (Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee) that their coverage in Louisiana is ending. Efforts are still underway to obtain enrollment files from other states that offered temporary coverage to hurricane evacuees so that similar mailings can be done to those individuals in the coming months.
“It is important that our displaced residents explore their coverage options from private insurance companies or other state Medicaid programs so they can continue to get the health care they need,” said Dr. Fred Cerise, DHH Secretary. “They will have a much easier time finding doctors if they are enrolled in Medicaid where they are living.
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.
“When people move back to Louisiana, they can re-apply to have their coverage from Louisiana Medicaid and LaCHIP started again,” Cerise said.
Anyone who receives this letter and has already moved back to Louisiana can call the New Orleans Regional Medicaid Office at 504-599-0656 to request that their coverage be continued. Decisions on continuing coverage for people still living out of state will be made on a case-by-case basis. The Louisiana Medicaid hotline will also operate under extended hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays for two weeks after the letters are sent out to assist people who have questions about their coverage. The number for this free hotline is 1-888-342-6207.
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 state 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 http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/.