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Florida Medicaid enrollment drops below 5 million


Enrollment in Florida’s Medicaid program dropped below 5 million people in November, as the end of a federal public-health emergency continues to reduce the rolls.

The program totaled 4,946,551 beneficiaries in November, down from 5,105,874 in October, according to data posted online Monday by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The federal government declared a public health emergency in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.

As part of the emergency, Washington agreed to pick up more of the tab for the program. But in exchange for the extra money, states had to agree that they wouldn’t drop people from the Medicaid rolls during the emergency. Florida’s program grew from about 3.8 million beneficiaries in January 2020 to nearly 5.78 million in April of this year. At least in part, the increase stemmed from the program being unable to drop people who otherwise might not qualify because of their income levels.

With the end of the public health emergency this spring, the state has used what is known as an eligibility “redetermination” process. Enrollment has steadily declined, and the redetermination process is continuing. A federal judge held a hearing last week in a potential class-action lawsuit that alleges the state has not provided adequate information to Medicaid beneficiaries before dropping them from the program.

As of mid-day Monday, Jacksonville-based U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard had not ruled on a request by plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction.

News Service of Florida