Deadline looming for state health care sign-ups
From Amy Webb DHS Communications Director
LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) will begin mailing notices today to about 42,000 families with children in the ARKids program who have not responded to previous attempts to renew their coverage. “We want to do everything we can to keep eligible children enrolled so that they can get vaccinations, have well-child check-ups and other things they need to remain healthy,” DHS Director John Selig said Friday. “So we are taking the extra step of mailing a third notice to families.” DHS began the renewal process in mid-2015 and sent two previous notices to these families. However, the volume of renewals initiated and enrollment system issues caused processing delays, case errors and long hold times for people calling with questions. To ensure these issues were not preventing families from getting the information they needed to respond, DHS provided renewal information to all childcare centers that accept federal voucher payments, pediatricians, all school nurses in the state, foodbanks and all libraries in the state in hopes that they would share information with families they serve. The agency also advertised the renewal efforts on Facebook and linked to the renewal application. To date, DHS has received responses from 170,000 of the 212,000 families that needed to renew their children’s ARKids and is processing the information they provided. Families who have responded to a previous notice, but have not yet received a final determination do not need to re-apply. Notices will be sent to families as soon as their cases have been processed and their income has been verified. Only families that receive notices in the next few weeks need to provide additional information. The notice, which will be mailed in batches over the next few weeks, is the final notice families will receive before their children’s ARKids cases are closed and their coverage ends. The notice includes a paper renewal application for the family’s convenience, but the fastest and easiest way for families to renew is through the state’s website http://www.Access.Arkansas.gov. Families with questions about the notice should reach out to employees at their local DHS county office. The Crittenden County DHS office is located at 401 S. College Blvd., in West Memphis. They are open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is (870) 732-5170.