More than 1,600 Minnesotans have lost Medicaid coverage after they failed to turn in a form required by a new federal rule.

The form is designed to help states make sure that certain people — including the elderly and people with disabilities — meet the income requirements of the Medicaid program.

The people were given 30 days to return the forms, which give the state permission to check their bank accounts to make sure they qualified for the coverage.

Chuck Johnson, deputy commissioner of the Department of Human Services, said people often fall off the rolls when new paperwork is required.

“These in particular, of course, are seniors, people with disabilities, people who have ongoing and immediate needs in many cases, so the impact in many cases is always a concern,” he said.

He said his department notified county case managers and other providers in anticipation of the new requirement so that they could help make sure people returned the forms on time.

Advocacy groups say people didn’t have enough time to fill out and return the forms.

States sometimes use paperwork or other requirements as a way to cut Medicaid rolls. But Ezra Golberstein, who studies health insurance at the University of Minnesota, doesn’t think that’s the case here.

“What’s important is that we have as many mechanisms as possible to make sure that those people are being reached out to and that they are getting back on coverage as quickly as possible,” Golberstein said.

Minnesota will pay three months of insurance retroactively if qualified people reapply. Johnson said counties are reaching out to people who lost coverage.

About 175,000 people who get Medicaid in Minnesota will have to return the form to continue their coverage. The state is sending the forms out in several waves. The second batch was just sent out in late September. People who were included in that round have until the end of this month to return them.

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