Florida’s Approach to Medicaid Unwinding Puts Hundreds of Thousands of Floridans at Risk

New analysis finds more than a quarter million Floridians will become uninsured due to incomprehensible paperwork requirements by spring 2024

December 1, 2023

doctor speaking to two patients

WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2023)--Florida’s approach to the Medicaid unwinding process could lead to serious harm for hundreds of thousands of low-income beneficiaries, according to a report out today by researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

The analysis sheds light on a class action lawsuit in the Florida Federal District Court, being held in Jacksonville on Tuesday, December 5, on behalf of beneficiaries who lost health insurance as a result of the Medicaid unwinding process. The report adds to evidence suggesting that many of those who lost coverage are still eligible for Medicaid but could not comply with burdensome or incomprehensible paperwork requirements.

“By spring of 2024, we anticipate that more than a quarter of a million Floridians will become uninsured due to paperwork barriers they faced in the state’s unwinding process,” said lead author Leighton Ku, professor of health policy and management at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. “This is equivalent to the total population of St. Petersburg, Florida.”  More than 100,000 women and 80,000 children will lose their insurance, he adds.

The report also says the harm of losing health coverage will fall disproportionately on Latino and Black Floridians but also on a sizable number of White residents. Without health coverage, these low income people in Florida could lose access to care and become sicker.  Ku explains that “Thousands could end up requiring emergency medical care or hospitalization or even die because they lacked access to better health care.”

The report, published in the Dec 1 Forefront section of the journal Health Affairs, examines the population health effects of Florida’s unwinding process.

While the new research focuses on Florida, the team says there are broader implications for other states as well. Of the more than 11 million beneficiaries who have lost Medicaid nationwide as of November 2023, more than 70% lost their coverage due to insurmountable paperwork, the authors say. 

To interview Leighton Ku or one of the other authors of the report, please contact Kathy Fackelmann, [email protected].