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Thousands Lose Benefits Under New Federal Guidelines

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Almost 6,000 people have lost Medicaid benefits in Oklahoma because they failed to meet new federal requirements for proving citizenship.
Officials disclosed Thursday that the individuals were dropped from the program on December 1 after getting a final notice of new federal paperwork requirements.

Citizenship has always been a requirement for Medicaid benefits, but new federal guidelines now require such documentation as a birth certificate to qualify.

Letters containing the final notice were mailed in November to 5,841 individuals. People being terminated were notified at least four times prior to cancellation of their SoonerCare membership.

Mike Fogarty, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, said he expected to learn that nearly all of the individuals dropped from the program are citizens.

The action was discussed Thursday at a meeting of the OCHC Board in Tulsa.

Agency spokesman Nico Gomez said there is anecdotal evidence that some of those who lost coverage had trouble getting birth certificates from other states.

For complete coverage of Oklahoma's new immigration reform law, click here.
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