Sen. David Sanders, as noted yesterday, is one of a small number of Republican legislators who’s questioned the wisdom of dropping insured from the state’s private option Medicaid expansion if they don’t respond to a mailed question about their income status in 10 days.
The tight rule — the state could allow up to 90 days under federal standards — will produce loss of insurance for tens of thousands of families.
Last night, a reader comment on this appeared on our item about Sanders. I can’t verify if the commenter is a private option beneficiary as stated. But the circumstances described are plausible. A compassionate governor might check to see if such situations are the consequence of adherence to such a short reply window and, if so, do something about it. From a reader:
I got one of these notices! And I too didn’t have any idea what the eff to do with it – I’m unemployed, and they know that, and they randomly decided to do this check. How do you provide proof of income as an unemployed individual? Also, 10 days? Hah. I got the letter on July 1, and the deadline was Saturday, July 4. They were closed Friday the 3rd. What was I supposed to do? The phone lines are way understaffed on a normal basis, on hold for hours – who has time for that? So I had to go to the DHS office and they, at least, knew exactly what was up. I literally had to write out one single sentence stating that I was unemployed with no income, date and sign. That’s it. Really. How much work did this create for DHS, how many people did they freak out for nothing, how many are now without their insurance for no damn reason? I still don’t have a letter confirming that my coverage isn’t cancelled…
They know what they’re up to, and that’s terrorizing people.
UPDATE: Amy Webb of the Department of Human Services wants to clarify this particular situation (it qualified for an additional five days of response time), as well as offer some tips for others. It follows (though I’ve also heard from an insurance broker who complains that he’s been trying to alert the public to problems for weeks, particularly with the inability of DHS to handle the crush of calls and with an inability to get people certified in time even when they had help in the process),
FROM AMY WEBB
Just wanted to let you know that in the situation described, we did provide additional time. The individuals affected did not have an adequate amount of time to respond so we provided five additional days for them. Also, the checks are not random. They are required by state and federal law.
Thought you also might want to share the information below, which we’ve sent to many enrollees.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RENEWAL
I have a question regarding my DHS Renewal Notice, but I cannot get through to 855-372-1084.
* You may call ANY DHS County Office for assistance regarding the renewal notice that you received. (To find the phone number of DHS County Offices, go to www.humanservices.arkansas.gov and click on “find your local county office.”
What do I need to provide proof of income to DHS? Provide one of the following:
· Check stubs (for previous month)
· Letter from Employer (verifying income)
· Verification of Earnings Form – DCO97 (completed by employer)
· Benefit Award Letters (such as Social Security or Unemployment Benefits)
If I am self-employed, what do I need to provide proof of income to DHS?
· Tax Return, including Schedule C
· If you have not filed, provide the extension and last year’s return
If I am unemployed, what do I need to provide proof of income to DHS?
· Letter explaining that you have no income (your signature must be included)
How can I submit my proof of income to DHS?
· Mail your documents to the address which appears on your DHS Notice. (Please make sure that your Social Security Number and Date of Birth are on the documents. If not, write this information on your documents).
· Take your documents to a DHS County Office near you, or ANY DHS County Office
I cannot meet the 10 day deadline to provide proof of income. How can I receive more time?
· Call ANY DHS County Office and speak with a DHS representative to request an extension. (This will prevent your case from being closed for failing to respond).
What will happen if I do not provide proof of income?
* If you fail to provide the required documents by the deadline or do not receive an extension to provide proof of income, you will lose your health insurance coverage. However, if you can provide proof of income within 90 days from the date of termination, you could potentially be reinstated, if determined eligible.