350 Texas Seniors Suddenly Removed From the State’s Medicare Savings Program

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Apr 22, 2024

The Texas Health and Human Services Department recently made an announcement that shocked the senior citizens of the Lone Star State. 

Apparently, a mistake was made within the state’s Medicare Savings Program, which led to the erroneous removal of 350 Texas seniors. These seniors missed out on the money they were owed by the program for months and even paid more out of pocket for their medications before the error was detected. 

Texas Health and Human Services Admitted Its Mistake

In a recent announcement, Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) told Texans and the rest of the country that they realized hundreds of seniors had accidentally been removed from the Medicare program but that they were doing everything they could to reinstate them as soon as possible. 

Promotional photo for the Texas Health and Human Services, showing a group of people with the words, “We Help People”

Source: @TexasHHSC

Deputy chief press officer Tiffany Young explained, “HHSC routinely performs quality assurance measures. When, through this process, the agency discovers a Medicaid recipient was terminated in error, HHSC works expeditiously to reinstate coverage for those impacted back to the date of their termination.”

This Isn’t the First Time Such a Mistake Was Made

While it may seem like a simple program error, this isn’t actually the first time such a mistake has been made at the HHSC. In 2020, President Joe Biden instated a “continuous coverage provision” that ensured no Americans could be removed from Medicaid during the pandemic. 

Several masked nurses attend to patients in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: iStock

However, the problem occurred when, at the end of the crisis, the HHSC assessed the nearly 6 million Texans receiving Medicaid and accidentally removed nearly 100,000 seniors who were rightfully covered. 

Now It’s Happened Again

In 2022, the HHSC explained that they had solved the problem and officially reinstated the 100,00 Texas residents who had been unfairly removed from the Medicaid program. 

The Northwest Texas Hospital from outside with several flags flying in the wind

Source: Northwest Texas Healthcare System

But now, less than two years later, it has happened again. This time, they can’t blame the pandemic; it is simply an error in the program or in the department itself. And Texas seniors are extremely, and rightly, frustrated. 

What Does It Mean When Seniors Are Removed from Medicaid?

It’s important to understand that while technically, the HHSC has noted its errors and promised that the senior citizens unrightfully removed from the program have been reinstated, they have still experienced several disadvantages from being temporarily deleted from the system. 

Photograph of several $100 bills alongside a Social Security check and the envelope it came in

Source: Depositphotos

The first issue is that these 100,000 Texans, and now another 350, received less money in their Social Security checks for every month that they were not listed in the state’s Medicaid program. 

Losing Nearly $200 a Month Makes a Big Difference

The Medicare Savings Program ensures that senior citizens in America receive the financial assistance and medical care they need and deserve. 

An elderly couple sits together on the couch, holding hands

Source: Freepik

That includes a $174 monthly Part B Premium, which these thousands of seniors lost out on when they were incorrectly removed from the program. Losing out on almost $200 every month would be challenging for most Americans, but it’s especially difficult for seniors without another form of income. 


How Did So Many Texas Residents Not Realize They Were Receiving Far Less Every Month?

This situation is especially disappointing because it affects the state’s elderly population, who may not have noticed that they were receiving fewer benefits. 

Older woman sits in a yellow chair and looks out the window

Source: Freepik

Many of the people affected likely didn’t look at their finances every month or even didn’t have the capacity to fully understand how much they were supposed to be getting every month. Therefore, the majority didn’t recognize that they were getting less. 


The Seniors Accidentally Removed Likely Paid More for Their Medications

In addition to losing out on hundreds of dollars every month, these Texas seniors also would have paid more for their prescriptions than they should have when they were removed from the Medicaid program. 

A pharmacist reaches for prescription medication on the shelf

Source: Freepik

Because everything in the United States, including prescriptions, is constantly increasing in price, it’s likely that most of the senior citizens didn’t even realize they were being overcharged and simply agreed to the higher price point. 


Many Texas Seniors Are Now Struggling as They Wait for Their Status to Be Reinstated

Just because the HHSC has admitted its error, that doesn’t mean these several hundred Texas seniors have been reinstated in the state Medicaid program. 

A small piece of paper reads “Medicaid” next to a prescription pad and a stethoscope

Source: 123RF

In fact, it could take several months for the mistake to be fully rectified. In the meantime, these seniors will continue to live without their rightful Social Security checks and discounted medications. 


This Situation Is Extremely Troubling for Many People

Medicare insurance specialist and CEO at Smile Insurance Group told Newsweek that this disappointing reality is not specific to Texas. 

An elderly couple looks stressed as they go over their finances

Source: Freepik

Fong explained, “Losing the Medicare Savings Program has a very significant financial impact on seniors,” and “a lot of seniors were incorrectly removed from their Medicare Savings Program in many states.”


How Long Will It Take to Resolve This Issue?

Members of the HHSC claim that they are hard at work attempting to rectify this mistake as soon as possible. However, it won’t happen overnight. 

A woman at work looking over paperwork alongside her computer

Source: Freepik

Fong said, “These individuals are put into a very hard financial situation while waiting for it to be corrected, which can take several months or more.”


Seniors in Texas Should Contact the HHSC Immediately

If you or a loved one is a senior citizen in the Texas Medicaid program, it’s crucial that you contact the agency as soon as possible. 

Senior citizen speaking on the phone outside

Source: Freepik

First and foremost, to find out if you or they have accidentally been removed, and second, to ask when they expect that the error will be rectified. If they don’t have an answer for you, Fong recommends continuing to reach out until they do.