Tens of thousands removed from Iowa Medicaid

DES MOINES — State officials say about 233,000 Iowans are no longer receiving Medicaid coverage after a year-long review. Federal guidelines established at the start of the COVID pandemic prevented states from removing most recipients from the Medicaid program, but that rule ended a year ago.

Elizabeth Matney is the state Medicaid director. She says about 50,000 Iowans who were notified they’d be removed from the Medicaid program in the past year are still enrolled after officials confirmed they qualified for the benefit,  “There is a fairly expedited process to get back on and those are the individuals that, you know, we see reinstated.”

Kelly Huntsman is the CEO of Primary Health Care, a federally qualified health center that operates clinics in central Iowa. She says some of their patients missed state notifications and didn’t realize they had lost coverage until they showed up for an appointment.  “When the state sends out, you know, the letters, sometimes they’ve changed addresses once or twice since then,” she said. “And many of our patients are non-English speaking.”

State officials say based on recent state and federal data, they believe most of the 233,000 Iowans who are no longer enrolled in Medicaid were eligible for other types of health coverage.