During the pandemic, Congress effectively prevented states from kicking people off Medicaid, the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low income. This led to a historic number of enrollments over the past two years. But now, the passing of Congress’ $1.7 trillion omnibus package means millions who signed up for Medicaid during the pandemic are at risk of losing their coverage in 2023. Here’s what you need to know about Medicaid’s eligibility criteria and what you can do to minimize your chances of coverage loss.
Why you might lose Medicaid coverage
Under the $1.7 trillion funding bill, Congress is dropping the Medicaid enrollment protections enacted in response to COVID. Starting April 1, states can start reviewing individuals’ eligibility and terminating coverage for those who do not meet the Medicaid requirements used before the pandemic. States are required to inform claimants if they are going to lose coverage.
The Health and Human Services Department has estimated that about 15 million people will lose coverage through Medicaid once disenrollments begin in April. Some important context: CNBC explains that the loss of Medicaid coverage doesn’t necessarily mean losing all health insurance, since many will be transitioning to other sources of coverage. For anyone losing Medicaid because their income rises and falls outside the program’s parameters, you will likely switch to coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
What you can do if you’re still eligible
If you’re a Medicaid recipient and saw your income go up during the pandemic, you might no longer qualify and be disenrolled by your state. Look up your state’s Medicaid guidelines here.
Unfortunately, many still-eligible Americans are at risk of being disenrolled from Medicaid because they don’t receive their renewal notice, can’t provide documentation required by the state, or they don’t submit the documents by the deadline. The most important thing you can do is make sure your state Medicaid’s office has your up-to-date, accurate contact information, so you don’t lose coverage due to some bureaucratic issue.