Arizona's Medicaid system is moving to ensure that adult enrollees dropped for the program for any reason will not be able to be reenrolled, reports the Arizona Republic.
The new policy could be emulated by other states looking to cut Medicaid costs and would put a terrific strain on hospitals compelled to treat newly uninsured patients.
Arizona program officials estimate that as many as 100,000 single adults will drop off the Medicaid rolls over the next year, either through technical issues such as an unreported change of address, or a shift in income. That is expected to save the state as much as $190 million a year.
The move has been criticized by state healthcare advocacy groups. "A lot of this population, they are in survival mode," Tara McCollum Plese of the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers told the Republic. "They're basically living paycheck to paycheck, trying to figure out how to get the next meal on the table and pay the rent." She added that many enrollees may not know they've lost coverage until they're hospitalized.
The plan still requires approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but officials believe it will be approved. CMS recently approved a plan to end a program for those made indigent by large hospital bills.