Another 25k+ Children in Arkansas Lost Medicaid Coverage Last Month

pediatrician looking in child's ear

Since 1977 Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has worked to improve the well-being of the kids in our state. Our concern about children losing coverage, once again reported by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, is genuine. The number of kids who’ve lost health insurance — about 27,000 each month so far for a total of more than 81,000 — is alarming, and it far exceeds anything health advocates expected. That’s due in part to the artificially sped-up process required by our Legislature. Other states that have seen massive numbers of children losing coverage have paused their procedural enrollments so they can try to gather more information about what is happening. 

Arkansas Advocates, along with other state and local groups, has been raising concerns and awareness for more than a year about the state’s rushed process for disenrolling people following the end of the Public Health Emergency. Instead of brushing our concerns aside, the state needs to pause procedural terminations immediately.

It’s very likely that the vast majority of children who lost ARKids A coverage, which serves the state’s lowest-income families, are still eligible for another program like ARKids B, which has higher income eligibility criteria. But now, those kids’ time-sensitive medical appointments, immunizations, screenings, and treatments will be delayed. Delay in medical care for children is serious, and it will cost the state additional money to re-enroll these eligible kids.

The Governor should not allow DHS to continue disenrolling children without confirmation that they no longer qualify. Arkansas was once a leader in ensuring children had access to health insurance, and now we are leading the country in children’s coverage losses. We cannot stand by and let this happen.