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Some unhoused seniors risk losing AHCCCS coverage as agency begins redetermination process

Published: Friday, March 31, 2023 - 3:14pm

After nearly three years, AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid program, will begin its re-determination process this Saturday. Now, AHCCCS is trying to connect with members who are at risk of losing coverage — and that could include some unhoused seniors. 

Dean Scheinert is the executive director of Justa Center, a day program for people 55 and older. He says when clients come through the door, they get asked, "are you on AHCCCS?" because "I think that, you know, most of them are not aware of it," he said.

Scheinert says there is a volunteer from DES who is coming to help those who could be at risk of losing their coverage

"A lot of our members, as you can imagine, are from a very vulnerable demographic. Not only are they elderly — that we define as 55 years and older — They're also homeless, and they don't have the tools and resources necessarily, to stay up to date on the change," Scheinert said. 

Many older adults are first time homeless, and the experience can be both confusing and frightening. Furthermore, this population may have comorbidities, so losing their health coverage could be devastating. 

"The ranks of the elderly who are experiencing homelessness has had a very steep trajectory for all the reasons that we know about unaffordable housing, people losing their jobs, lack of resources, you name it," Scheinert said. 

AHCCCS covers 2.5 million Arizonans and more than 50% of the births here. The redetermination process will take place over the course of the year and could impact seniors on ALTCS, Arizona's Long Term Care System

Individuals can make sure AHCCCS has their current information (mailing address, phone number, email) by going to healthearizonaplus.gov or calling 855-HEA-PLUS (855-432-7587), Monday through Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

If their information has changed, they can access an option to “Report a Change” in the “Individual and Family” section. They can also access a list of assistors in the community who can help from the main page of healthearizonaplus.gov.

Individuals can also reach out to their AHCCCS health plan (contact information will be listed on the back of their AHCCCS ID card), and health plan staff can help them.

Science Aging Health + Medicine