14.2 Million Could Lose Medicaid Coverage When Public Health Emergency Ends

CC0 / / Doctor
Doctor  - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.05.2022
Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps provide health insurance to those unable to afford it or with disabilities. An estimated 86.9 million individuals are on Medicaid in the United States as of April 2022.
Up to 14.2 Million people will be kicked off Medicaid when the Public Health Emergency (PHE) order ends.
In 2020, the coronavirus relief bill gave states additional Medicaid funding in exchange for not kicking anyone off of the program, even if they were no longer eligible. Due largely to this, called the continuous enrollment requirement, Medicaid enrollment has increased 25% since 2019. According to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), when the PHE ends, 5.3 to 14.2 million people could lose Medicaid coverage.
The PHE has been renewed by the federal government every 90 days since it was first implemented. Officials have indicated that states will be given 60 days warning before letting the PHE expire. It is currently set to expire on July 15, if an announcement does not come from the White House by the middle of May. It is a safe bet that it will be extended at least another 90 days.
After the expiration of the PHE, many Medicaid recipients will be kicked off the rolls because they will no longer be eligible, but others could be removed due to procedural reasons. For example, a recipient will lose their benefits if the state needs updated information after the PHE expires but does not receive it in time. Others could see their Medicaid end because they would become eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act Expansion but are unaware of that fact.
According to the study, 42% of the 22.2 million new enrollees are children.
During the pandemic, the federal government sent $100.4 billion in Medicaid funding to the states. That was higher than the increased costs the states suffered due to the increased Medicaid enrollment, though the amount differs from state to state.
Further complicating the matter is that different states will have different procedures on how they inform people they are being kicked off of Medicaid or that the state needs updated information. According to a previous KFF survey, 15 states plan to use electronic data to identify and target enrollees who may no longer be eligible after the continuous enrollment requirement is lifted and 39 states plan to use a full year to process redeterminations, but nine other states plan to return to normal operations quicker than that.
Some states are still determining what their plan will be, according to the survey.
The loss in Medicaid coverage will likely play a role in when President Biden decides to end the PHE. While the pandemic is still raging, the United States is currently averaging 367 new deaths a day according to the New York Times, much of the country is operating as normal. If the PHE is extended another 90 days after July 15, the next deadline will be October 13. Another 90-day extension after that would delay it until January 11, 2023.
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