BATON ROUGE, La. — More than 46,000 people lost their Medicaid coverage this month, because they didn’t respond to letters warning they didn’t appear eligible for the government-financed insurance.

The removals came as the state health department resumed a process that automatically kicks people off Medicaid if they don't respond to annual renewal information requests.

Enrollees had until Oct. 31 to maintain coverage if they could prove eligibility.

The agency said in October that an estimated 82,000 letters would be sent to Medicaid patients. But the health department said 52,000 letters actually went out, after duplicates were removed from the count.

Department spokesman Robert Johannessen says during the same four-month period in 2018, more than 71,000 people lost Medicaid coverage for not providing renewal information. The department exempted children from automatic removal this time.

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