Medicaid is a federal and state run health care program that provides health insurance to individuals and families with limited income. The government extends benefits to medically deserving candidates such as those who have disabilities, are pregnant or are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Since the government established Medicaid for needy applicants, there are restrictions on eligibility to enroll in the program. As a result, many Medicaid petitioners receive denial letters that prevent them from receiving coverage. In many cases, however, denied Medicaid applicants can appeal a denial decision.
Understanding the Denial Letter
After denying an applicant from enrolling in the program, federal or state Medicaid officials send a letter detailing the reason(s) for the disapproval. Reasons for denial of Medicaid services can include an income higher than the threshold limit, possession of too many assets or a disability discrepancy. The most common reason for a denial of Medicaid eligibility is due to incomplete applications and unverified information.
The denial letter will also tell petitioners if they have the right to appeal and explain the steps to request a hearing. Denied Medicaid applicants have a limited period in which to request a denial appeal. While deadlines vary by state, the time frame cannot exceed 90 days, with most states setting a 45-day window to request a hearing. Medicaid petitioners who miss the appeal deadline must complete a new application.
Making the Appeal Request
The first step to appeal a Medicaid denial is to make a written request to the local Medicaid office handling the case. Depending on the requirements of the state where the petitioner is applying, written notices are available for submission online, by mail or in person at local offices. Some state have an official appeal form, while others accept hand written letters. Upon receipt of the appeal request, Medicaid officials will send a letter with court hearing details like the date, location and if the applicant needs to be physically present or available over telephone.
Denied applicants should gather any pertinent documentation for the appeal hearing. For example, if the Medicaid petitioner failed to verify income, then tax filings and paychecks are crucial evidence. Likewise, if Medicaid rejected an application because the petitioner did not prove an eligible disability, officials may require a medical exam.
Medicaid Appeal Hearings
Petitioners may utilize a legal professional as representation or a layperson to speak on their behalf during proceedings. Judges in Medicaid appeal hearings will look at evidence as well as listen to testimony. At any point, applicants can ask for more time to gather documentation and information to resolve disputes or verification issues. If the court requests a medical exam, the state pays for all associated costs.
After the hearing, the applicant receives a written letter of the decision within 20 days. If the petitioner achieves approval from the hearing, the state agency will apply Medicaid coverage retroactively to the original eligibility date. This means that Medicaid will cover any qualifying medical expenses incurred from the file date. If the hearing decision denies the applicant, the denial letter will inform the recipient of eligibility to appeal again. A second appeal is typically an evidentiary hearing that permits only written claims.