Imagine suddenly losing your health care coverage over some undelivered paperwork.
Recent reports suggest this is happening to thousands of Texas’ poorest children, jeopardizing their ability to get basic medical care and yanking away a ladder proven to help families climb out of poverty.
About 50,000 Texas kids a year are dropped from Medicaid after computer-generated spot checks suggest the family no longer meets income or other eligibility requirements, the San Antonio Express-News reported. In more than 90 percent of those cases, however, the kids lost Medicaid coverage simply because their family failed to respond in time to the state’s demands for income documentation or other paperwork.
The fact that a third of those kids re-enroll within a year suggests many of the affected families still qualify for coverage but are getting dropped over paperwork blunders, such as the state’s spot check letter going to an old address or arriving without enough time for families to respond before the deadline.
We recognize the need for Texas officials to ensure only qualified families are drawing from the limited pot of Medicaid dollars. The state rightly checks everyone’s eligibility during the annual enrollment process. By adding in surprise spot checks that can hit families a couple of times a year, however, the state ends up dropping too many eligible kids from Medicaid — compounding the problems Texas already faces with the highest rate of uninsured kids in the country.