Feb 26, 2023 - Health

Why millions on Medicaid may lose coverage this year

Charlotte Welborn, a registered nurse, checks on a patient in the medical, surgical and pediatric unit at Randolph Health in Asheboro, North Carolina on June 7, 2022. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Millions of people who rely on Medicaid coverage may be removed from the program over the next year.

The big picture: Under the COVID public health emergency, the federal government required state Medicaid agencies to provide coverage, even if an individual's eligibility changed.

  • Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program increased in every state since the start of the pandemic, per the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment increased by 20.2 million people from enrollment in February 2020, the Kaiser Family Foundation found.
  • Before the provision took effect, individuals could be booted from the program if they did not report a change in family status or if their income was too high, among other things.

What's happening: Ineligible Medicaid recipients could be removed as early as April, when some states begin checking individuals' Medicaid eligibility, AP reports.

  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid will be required to verify their personal information, including address, income and household size, AP notes.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that somewhere between 5 and 14 million people could lose Medicaid coverage once the provision ends.
  • "The lower estimate accounts for factors, such as new people enrolling in the program ..., while the higher estimate reflects total disenrollment and does not account for churn or new enrollees," KFF writes.

What to watch: States are required to develop operational plans for operating after the continuous enrollment provision ends.

  • States are operating on different timelines to review Medicaid eligibility, with some beginning as soon as April and others planning to start in May, June or July, AP notes.
  • An enrollment period will open for people who are unenrolled from Medicaid beginning March 31 and last through July 31, 2024, per AP.

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