Feds Say They Fixed Medicaid Problem for Children

February 7, 2014 - 7:05 PM

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A wrinkle in the HealthCare.gov website that temporarily left some children without insurance coverage has been fixed, federal officials said Friday.

Children who have been denied Medicaid coverage can now be added to a subsidized plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a letter to a New Hampshire congresswoman.

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter wrote to CMS after report by The Associated Press revealed the glitch last month.

Children who qualify for Medicaid cannot be covered under subsidized family plans purchased through the federal online markets. That left some without coverage until their Medicaid eligibility was determined while others who were rejected for Medicaid still couldn't be added to their parents' plans.

In a letter to Shea-Porter on Friday, CMS says consumers can now use the website to report if someone was denied coverage and take steps to add the child to a subsidized plan.

"This fix comes as a relief to families who had been stuck in a difficult situation," Shea-Porter said. "I'm glad CMS addressed my inquiry quickly, and I'll continue working to ensure that the Affordable Care Act works for New Hampshire families."

The web fix will also allow consumers to easily fix an error in their record such as a wrong birthday or Social Security number, CMS said.

Individuals shopping for insurance through the new online markets are referred to state Medicaid offices if they might qualify for the safety-net program for the poor and disabled. But the situation is more complicated for families, because in some states children can be eligible for Medicaid at significantly higher income levels than their parents.

The problems some parents faced came up at a recent meeting of New Hampshire's Health Exchange Advisory Board.