The commissioner of Alaska’s Dept. of Health and Social Services and the director of the state’s Division of Public Assistance face a lawsuit that claims their systemic failure to timely process Medicaid applications is hurting residents.
The commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services and the director of the state’s Division of Public Assistance face a proposed class action that claims their systemic failure to timely process Medicaid applications is “hurting communities across the state.”
According to the lawsuit, which has been recently removed to federal court, the defendants have failed to adhere to Medicaid Act regulations that require states to process applications and issue medical assistance to eligible individuals with “reasonable promptness.” The suit says the defendants’ records indicate that their administrative delays resulted in 19,631 unprocessed Medicaid applications in 2018 – nearly half of all applications submitted that year.
In potential violation of state law, which mandates that Medicaid eligibility be determined within 45 to 90 days after application, the defendants, in a “longstanding phenomenon,” fail year after year to process more than 66 percent of applications in any Alaskan district office, the suit charges. As of February 2019, the case further explains, the state had a backlog of over 15,000 applications waiting to be processed, 10,000 of which were filed back in 2018.
Consequently, the suit says, thousands of Alaskans have been deprived and continue to be deprived of “desperately-needed healthcare coverage.”