East Texas clinics provide Medicaid alternatives as re-application resumes

The nationwide COVID-19 public health emergency order is set to expire on Thursday
As Medicaid resumes re-application requirements on Thursday, East Texas clinics give tips on what to do if you no longer qualify.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:58 AM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - As Medicaid resumes re-application requirements on Thursday, East Texas clinics give tips on what to do if you no longer qualify.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid recipients were allowed to stay on without needing to reapply for benefits. For the first time in three years, nearly six million Texas Medicaid users will have to re-qualify or renew to keep that health coverage. The state has already begun removing people from the program who no longer qualify.

The Texas Health and Human Services will send a notice to all current recipients electronically or in the mail to explain the renewal process. Recipients have 30 days to complete it or Medicaid will be denied, and if any assistance is required, help is available.

“Free local help, you can go to the Texas Community Partner program, that’s part of HHSC the Medicaid agency,” said Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst at Every Texan. “They work with community-based organizations to train them and get them ready to help you in your community, answer questions and renew your Medicaid.”

Pogue also expressed concern and believes this will be a challenge for the state to complete and review applications.

“A competent eligibility enrollment system in the state is the foundation to making sure that Texans can get health care when they’re eligible, SNAP food assistance when they’re eligible,” Pogue said. “Texas has struggled, just like lots of states have struggled to keep processing paperwork, for these important programs, in a timely matter. Especially when they’re in a really tight labor market.”

If after you renew you no longer qualify for Medicaid, another option for health care could be a community clinic near you. For example, Bethesda Health Clinic in Tyler provides medical and dental services to working adults who can’t afford health insurance.

“There are a few qualifications to qualify. One is you have to be an adult. You have to be at least 18 years of age. So, we don’t see any children here. And the other main criteria is that you have to be uninsured,” Megan Riaz, Director of Community Relations at Bethesda Health Clinic said.

Residents outside Smith County may apply for Bethesda as well; find out qualifications by contacting the clinic. Another option is the Health Insurance Marketplace, which bases coverage on income.

If you’re on Medicaid, the state said one of the first things you should do is make sure your information is up to date. For now, the state is focusing on contacting post-partum women and young adults. Other groups will get their renewal notice in the coming months.

If you want to learn more about what steps you can take in renewing your Medicaid coverage in Texas, you can visit the state’s website.