A pandemic-era rules What protected people from losing Medicaid coverage will expire Friday, putting millions of people at risk of losing their health insurance.
Medicaid provides free health insurance to people with low incomes.
Usually, Medicaid recipients must renew their coverage every year, and if they are no longer eligible, they lose coverage. But lawmakers passed a rule in 2020 that would have allowed people to be automatically enrolled in government programs even if they no longer met coverage requirements.
That protection will end Friday at midnight, leaving up to 15 million people at risk of losing their health insurance, according to an estimate. KFFa non-profit research organization formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation. some 95 million People in the US are now enrolled in Medicaid and PITCH, which provides free coverage for children, according to KFF.
Even a small gap in coverage is “devastating,” said Jennifer Tolbert, associate program director for Medicaid and the KFF uninsured. Some may not have access to medication for their period, while others may not have access to treatment for chronic physical or mental health conditions.
Most likely to be affected by the change are “children, young adults, Black and Hispanic or Latinx people,” according to Carrie Fry, a health policy professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
“In short, this is an all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing the number of people who lose Medicaid coverage,” Fry said.
What is he doing?
At the beginning of Saturday, states will be allowed to begin.unwinding” — the process by which Medicaid annually updates and expands coverage for people who are already eligible.
Medicaid eligibility varies by statebut generally people can determine if their income falls below a certain threshold. In New Yorkfor example, a single person whose annual income is $19,392 before taxes or a married couple whose income is below $26,228 annually can determine the account. Going even slightly above that distance could make a person ineligible for coverage.
We shouldn’t expect a “flood of people” losing Medicaid coverage for the weekend, Tolbert said.
The development phase is expected to last about 12 months, as the state checks everyone’s eligibility and sends out renewal and termination notices, although some states block those faster than others, Tolbert said.
Eight states It began sending renewal notifications to Medicaid recipients in February, followed by another 15 states in March, Tolbert said. Despite the early start, no recipient states are allowed to report until April 1.
Another 28 states are expected to begin the process in April. States must give enrollees at least 30 days to respond to the renewal notice and another 10 days after the coverage termination notice.
During that 12-month period, 5 to 15 million people are expected to lose Medicaid coverage, Tolbert said. The ongoing developments will begin in April.
People whose incomes have increased are expected to be among those who lose coverage, he said. But people who are still eligible and didn’t provide the information needed to confirm their status — such as income or current residency — are also expected to lose their insurance, he added.
What is this?
The continued demand for Medicaid coverage was originally tied to the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency, which will expire in May.
In December, however, Congress passed the Appropriations Act of 2023, which set a new end date for Medicaid coverage rules of March 31.
Along with the new end date, States will be required to contact enrollees before coverage ends.
The change is “disruptive,” said Dr. Adam Gaffney, a critical care physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, who advocates for health care reform.
Medicaid enrollment grew 23.9% from 2012 to 2012 – an increase of 17 million people – according to 2012 KFF report.
Many of the patients kicked off Medicaid likely have “significant health needs,” Gaffney said.
What do people do?
States will terminate Medicaid coverage if a person does not complete a renewal application by the deadline.
People with Medicaid should keep their addresses up to date, keep an eye out for Medicaid application materials in the mail or by email, and update the application through their due date, Vanderbilt’s Fry said.
Tolbert said, if people have moved in the last few months and haven’t notified Medicaid that their address has changed, they need to check their previous address on the application. Others may have a language barrier and need assistance to complete the form.
Health systems, social service agencies, and community and faith-based organizations sometimes offer assistance in applying for Medicaid applications, Fry added.
People who lose Medicaid coverage may be eligible to purchase coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Gaffney said. Provide termination notice instructions.
I noticed that the Inflation Reduction Act extended subsidies through 2025 for some people who buy individual coverage through the ACA.