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Health and Medicine
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Thousands Booted From Washington Medicaid Rolls For Ineligibility

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Nearly 20,000 people have been removed from Washington’s Medicaid rolls for ineligibility. The purge happened after the state stepped up efforts to verify residency and income levels.

Over the summer, Washington’s Health Care Authority experimented with using the research firm LexisNexis as an additional way to check the residency status of Medicaid recipients. Based on that, 64,000 accounts were flagged.

“Something in their financial history or rental history or something is showing out of state addresses,” said Mary Wood, an assistant Medicaid director who oversees eligibility.

Letters were sent to those individuals asking them to verify they live in Washington. Of those, 18,000 didn’t respond or couldn’t prove their residency and were removed from the Medicaid rolls. Others lost coverage after the Medicaid program beefed up its income eligibility reviews.

The purge means that for 2018, Medicaid enrollment may drop by nearly 3 percent. Under the Affordable Care Act, Washington’s Medicaid population has surged to nearly 2 million people.