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Medicaid Unwinding in Montana

Nearly half of the Montanans whose Medicaid eligibility was reviewed last April, lost coverage, with 72% losing coverage because they failed to provide requested information. The reevaluation process, known as "Medicaid unwinding," has resulted in a mass reevaluation of millions of people since the federal response to the pandemic froze public insurance rolls three years ago.

Montana is one of the states opting for a faster redetermination process, which raises concerns given the state's poor track record in Medicaid determination. In the past, Montana has struggled with processing applications within the required timeframe, and now they face the daunting task of completing redeterminations in just 10 months.

Experts predict that under Montana's current plan, approximately 71,000 people may lose Medicaid coverage due to errors and inefficiencies.

The unwinding process poses a significant risk for vulnerable populations, particularly Native Americans, who may face challenges related to limited mail service, frequent relocations, and limited access to technology. If Medicaid recipients fail to return the renewal packet within 30 days, their coverage will end. The state plans to send reminders via email and text messages, but gaps in care are expected, leading to an increase in uninsured residents and potential disruptions in essential healthcare services.

For some, a gap in coverage would be devastating, as many people require multiple prescriptions for pain management, for others, home health services and personal care attendants. These services, currently covered by Medicaid, are essential for his well-being. The uncertainty of the unwinding process raises concerns about his access to necessary medications and care, and he fears the potential consequences of not having the support he depends on.

Overall, the Medicaid unwinding process in Montana has raised significant concerns due to the state's previous inefficiencies in enrollment determination. The potential loss of coverage for vulnerable individuals like Ian Ward underscores the importance of accurate and timely processing to ensure access to vital healthcare services.


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