Millions Could Soon Lose Medicaid Coverage Started During the Pandemic
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Cara Murez
FRIDAY, Sept. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- When the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, a new crisis in insurance coverage in the United States may begin.
Fifteen million Americans who enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic could lose their coverage when the emergency declaration ends, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute, a social policy think tank.
Its researchers said states can minimize disenrollment by keeping residents covered through the federal health insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov).
"Before the public health emergency expires, state and federal policymakers have time to consider how best to address both Medicaid beneficiaries' needs for maintaining health coverage, and the financial and administrative pressures on state and local governments," said Matthew Buettgens, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, in Washington, D.C.
"States can take actions to minimize unnecessary disenrollment and ensure that those losing Medicaid coverage know about their other coverage options, particularly Marketplace coverage with premium tax credits," Buettgens added in an institute news release.
Researchers found that the continuous coverage requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would increase Medicaid enrollment by about 17 million through the end of 2021, when the public health emergency is expected to expire. This would result in 76.3 million Medicaid enrollments for those under 65.
This emergency prevented state Medicaid agencies from disenrolling anyone.
According to the study, next year's Medicaid enrollment could drop by approximately 15 million. This includes 6 million children.
According to the researchers, about a third of the adults who are eligible for Marketplace premium tax credit would be eligible if they were to make the American Rescue Plan Act permanent.
The study showed that 57% of children would qualify for Children's Health Insurance Program and another 9% for Marketplace coverage with tax credit.
The researchers stated that it is crucial for states to encourage enrollment and coordinate Medicaid with the Marketplaces. These Marketplaces were created by the Affordable Care Act.
Avenel Joe, the vice president of policy for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that funded the study, stated, "Expanding Medicaid access improves health outcomes," especially among communities with higher incomes and communities of color. The nation will be able to reduce long-standing disparities in health and racial health by increasing access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare.
Healthcare.gov offers more information on health care coverage.
Source: Urban Institute news release September 15, 2021