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    Clay County, FL


    After a confusing DCF notice implied that Jessica’s kids were losing Medicaid and would be transferred to Florida KidCare, Kidcare then denied their coverage and sent them back to Medicaid. 

  • Jessica, a mother of three kids ages 5 to 12, relies on Medicaid to cover her children's healthcare– from mental health care to medically necessary medications. Like countless families impacted by the shifting Medicaid landscape in Florida, Jessica kept a keen eye on her Florida ACCESS account. “I did understand that Medicaid was going through a phase where they were dropping people and that I may not have been approved for benefits when I renewed.” Like many who lost work during the pandemic, Jessica is back to full-time work as a waitress.


    She received notice in early June that her benefits were up for renewal, and in July she did her online renewal on ACCESS. On August 2nd, DCF sent a confusing notice that said Medicaid benefits were ending for her and her two older children on August 31, 2023. The reason given was: “YOU ARE RECEIVING THE SAME TYPE OF ASSISTANCE FROM ANOTHER PROGRAM RECEIPT OF EARNED INCOME.”


    DCF’s notice also had boiler plate language that “If you have children under 18 and your child no longer qualifies for Medicaid, Florida KidCare is a low-cost option to keep your children covered with high-quality health and dental insurance. We will automatically share your information with Florida KidCare (floridakidcare.org) and they will send you a letter about how to sign up. Many families pay just $15 or $20 a month to cover all qualifying children in the household. Keep an eye out for a notice from Florida KidCare.“


    Ideally, there should have been a seamless transfer of her children’s coverage to Florida Kidcare (“FHK”) because her income was now over 138% of the poverty level ($3450 per month for a family of 4), but well below 215% of the poverty level ($5375 per month for a family of 4).


    But on August 18th, 2023, FHK sent her a notice denying Florida KidCare coverage because “AYDEN and NAILAH ha[ve] been referred to Medicaid. Children cannot get health services through Healthy Kids or MediKids at the same time they are referred to Medicaid.“


    This notice of denial by FHK because the kids were “referred to Medicaid” coupled with the confusing notice from DCF saying they were receiving assistance from another program, left Jessica thinking her kids must still be on Medicaid. But when she went to refill medication for her son in September, the pharmacist told her he had no insurance.


    “We were referred to [Florida Healthy Kids], but we were not approved because the kids had Medicaid. It was just all kind of confusing. I honestly can’t keep up,” said Jessica.


    Immediately after learning that her kids were uninsured, Jessica scrambled to get her kids FHK. But Ayden and Nailah were uninsured for the whole month of September. “We use insurance every month. We use medical services every month, basically,” Jessica said. She wasn’t able to fill her son’s prescription, take him to the doctor, or follow-up with any of his needs for a month.

    “It’s like [they] left my kids without insurance and without any time to get more insurance. I think that’s really unacceptable to be honest - especially for families who are already low-income. We don’t need extra stressors on us." said Jessica, adding, “My children’s needs are not as dire as some others - I can’t imagine the burden for families that need more services or need more urgent care.”

  • Jessica’s situation is not unique. Many Florida kids are facing interruptions in their health insurance coverage. Fortunately, her kids are relatively healthy, but they still had medical needs that went unmet for a month. And, like Jessica said, for families with seriously ill children, any lapse in coverage can be "dire." With better notices and program coordination between DCF and FHK, these lapses could be easily avoided.”

  • Read STORIES Of Other Floridians

    Relying On Medicaid





    Former Foster

    Care Children

    Seniors and People With Disabilities

  • We are grateful to the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) for their support of the

    "Medicaid | The Lived Experience" STORIES Project.

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