Governor: 15,000 Lose Benefits After Not Responding To Alerts

File photo of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Credit Office of the Governor

More than 15,000 individuals have lost state government health benefits because their family incomes vary at least 10% from their original applications and they did not respond to government requests to verify their incomes.

That’s according to a letter sent to lawmakers by Gov. Asa Hutchinson Monday. Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, posted the letter to his Twitter feed.

The Department of Human Services is engaged in a three-month effort to reverify wage data of almost 600,000 people. So far, Hutchinson wrote, data has been collected on more than 125,000 recipients of Medicaid, ARKIds First and the private option, with another 25,000 being told to renew their coverage.

Those families with income data varying more than 10% from their original application must verify their new incomes within 10 days to determine their future eligibility. “If a response is not received, eligibility is terminated. That has already occurred for over 15,000 individuals,” Hutchinson wrote.

He wrote that “the initial indications are that an unexpectedly high number of families are not responding to the notice from DHS and that many children and adults who may still qualify for care will lose their coverage. While DHS is required to reinstate coverage if the needed information is provided within 90 days, the removal and reinstatement process is cumbersome and could cause significant disruptions for families, health care providers, insurance carriers and the state.”

Hutchinson wrote that DHS is partnering with insurance carriers, providers and advocates to alert individuals of the need to respond to DHS. He said he has directed the department to add resources to handle the additional inquiries, including potentially contracting out additional call center capacity.