Millions of Americans May Lose Medicaid

Starting April 1, states will start removing people from government health insurance programs. 

It is estimated that 15 million people, or 1 in 6 of the 86 million on Medicaid, will lose their health insurance.

During the pandemic, procedures to remove people from Medicaid were suspended. Before COVID, people would regularly lose Medicaid coverage if they started making too much money to qualify for the program or if they moved out of state or gained healthcare coverage from their employer. When the government suspended these procedures, Medicaid enrollment grew by 23.9% from 2020 to 2022, an increase of 17 million people, according to a 2022 KFF report.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in December 2022, instructed states to restart eligibility checks for everyone on Medicaid. In order to stay enrolled, individuals will need to fill out forms to verify personal information such as income and household size. 

When will people start losing coverage? This depends on the state. The Associated Press reported that no longer eligible Medicaid members could be removed in the month of April in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

Individuals not eligible will more than likely not be dropped in one fell swoop. Each state has set different timelines for rechecking eligibility. Most states are expected to take between nine months to a year to complete the full verification process.

For those who lose Medicaid, there is an option to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The termination notice should provide instructions. 

A growing concern is that people on Medicaid are unaware of what is happening. According to a survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two-thirds of adults in Medicaid households weren’t aware that the program rules were changing. 

Healthcare advocates are encouraging and urging people on Medicaid to update their personal information, including their home address, phone number, and email. Individuals covered by Medicaid should keep an eye out for Medicaid application materials in the mail or via email and complete all paperwork by their state’s due date.

Individuals who have recently moved may need to check their previous address for application if they haven’t yet notified Medicaid that their address has changed. Others may have a language barrier and need assistance filling out the forms. Carrie Fry, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, said that health systems, social service agencies, and community and faith-based organizations sometimes would aid enrollees in updating Medicaid applications.

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