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Medicaid application wait times drops under 45 days, Missouri Department of Social Services says

In August, 5 On Your Side reported application wait times were at 100 days.

ST. LOUIS — "We are happy to report we were under 45 days processing as of about two weeks ago." 

That's the response from a spokesperson from the Missouri Department of Social Services on September 28, 2022.

This is regarding the processing times for Medicaid. 

In August, 5 On Your Side reported application wait times were at 100 days.

By federal standards, it should be no longer than 45 days.

To help with this, the federal government stepped in to fix the backlog.

5 On Your Side reached out to other agencies to confirm.

"Our understanding is that it's true based on what they are telling us. It doesn't mean that there are no issues or concerns -- there are -- but this is an important step," said a spokesperson with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

The nonprofit Legal Services of Eastern Missouri helps with the process and steps in to share knowledge with patients.

Why is there a wait?

Medicaid expansion is called MO HealthNet in Missouri and it took a lawsuit to make it happen. 

This was meant to assist 275,000 low-income Missourians.                  

  • Those who make $1,500 a month as an individual 
  • Or $3,200 a month for a family of four are eligible for Medicaid                     

There were several setbacks the Missouri Department of Social Services faced, from insufficient staffing, hiring and retention hurdles, computer issues and problems with the call center. 

This resulted in sizable backlogs and pending applications.             

At the end of June, Medicaid applicants were waiting an average of 115 days, up from an average of 106 days in May.

How to get help

If you need our assistance, you can call the Legal Services of Missouri intake department from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 314-534-4200 or toll free at 800-444-0514.         

You can also go to the Cover Missouri website here or call 1-800-466-3213 for assistance.

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