Options available as Arizonans notified about losing Medicaid coverage

Many people losing their Medicaid coverage will be eligible for financial help to pay for healthcare and some could be eligible for a $0 monthly premium plan.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 6:10 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans are at risk of losing their health care coverage this year. Arizona’s Medicaid program, or AHCCCS, is in the process of redetermining who qualifies. “I just don’t want to die feeling like I was abandoned,” said Joe Lohrstorfer, who was notified losing health insurance would mean choosing between his health or food.

He’s been dealing with a rare hormone disorder since 2013. “I’m very scared because with this disease comes five and six specialists,” he said. It causes his hands and feet to grow in size and can be extremely painful. “My feet grew from a nine to a 12 in my 40s and my hands grew and stopped working, and at that point I ended up losing my business,” Lohrstorfer said.

He says AHCCCS told him after April he’d no longer be covered. “They figure if you make over 1,300 a month on disability that you have enough for your medical bills,” he said.

Many others like him will soon be in the same boat. “Now if they get an access that they’re terminated or disenrolled the first thing they should do if they think they’re still eligible is call AHCCCS. They will re enroll them up to 90 days to make sure there’s no gap in coverage,” said Marla Bauer with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

She says many individuals losing their Medicaid coverage will be eligible for financial help to pay for their health care, and some could be eligible for a $0 monthly premium health plan. They have several campaigns going on they’re hoping will educate the community on their options. “Just because you’re not on Medicaid doesn’t mean financial assistance isn’t available because it is,” she said. “Our main goal is to keep the uninsured rate low, regardless of where they end up.”

AHCCCS suggests people keep their personal information up-to-date, something Baur says could be challenging for low-income families without internet access. “We also have our Medicaid team who can check their eligibility, so if they don’t want to go online or call AHCCCS, maybe their phone lines are too long, they can call our team, and we can go in the system and update it for them as well,” she said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona says their website is all translated to Spanish for those who need it. In addition, they have interpreters and translators for 15 different languages for anyone who calls. Baur suggests not searching for health coverage on your own and instead use a broker, a carrier, or even go to a navigator.

Baur says they understand the system and plans and will enroll you or get you the plans at no cost. To learn more about the timeline and how to prepare, visit the BCBSAZ blog, and to find a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona health insurance plan, visit //azblue.com/insured or call (844)-756-2583 to find out if you are eligible for a Medicaid plan.