A Medicaid Class Action Lawsuit Hits Florida
A Medicaid class action lawsuit hits Florida. The lawsuit hits amid concerns about the Florida Medicaid program. A judge has given the green light for the case to proceed. The lawsuit claims that Florida's Medicaid program is in violation of federal laws by denying coverage for incontinence supplies for adults with disabilities.
The choice to handle the case as a class action was granted by U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard, built on a request by attorneys representing two women and Disability Rights Florida. While the exact number of affected adults isn’t clear, it’s estimated that at least 480 Medicaid beneficiaries lose coverage for incontinence supplies annually when they turn 21.
Judge Morales Howard highlighted that the state Agency for Health Care Administration's (AHCA) policy of excluding incontinence supplies for individuals over 21 from Medicaid coverage applies to the entire proposed class. The plaintiffs seek a pronouncement that this policy is in violation of federal law and a permanent injunction against the AHCA's implementation of this policy. If it succeeds, such relief would apply to all class members.
The lawsuit was filed in July of 2022 in federal court in Jacksonville. Represented by Blanca Meza from Duval County and Destiny Belanger from St. Johns County. The lawsuit argues that the state is violating federal Medicaid law and other laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As of now, Florida provides incontinence supplies to Medicaid recipients under the age of 21 and certain adults, like those in nursing homes. Still, the supplies were stopped for Meza and Belanger after they turned 21, in spite of their incontinence and incapability to care for themselves due to their severe disabilities.
Both Meza and Belanger, described as medically fragile adults with bladder and bowel incontinence, have had their doctors prescribe incontinence supplies as medically obligatory to manage their condition and maintain their ability to live in the state.
Florida Hs Resisted The Lawsuit
The state has resisted the lawsuit and the request for class-action status, arguing that the Medicaid program operates under regulations approved by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
This class-action suit against Florida's Medicaid program highlights the serious issue of denying incontinence supplies to adults with disabilities, which potentially violates federal laws and the rights of Medicaid members with disabilities. With the case now proceeding as a class action, it brings hope for a fair resolution that could impact numerous Medicaid beneficiaries facing similar circumstances. As the trial scheduled for January 2024 approaches, the outcome could have far-reaching implications for the state's healthcare policies and the provision of essential services to those in need.