19 Million Americans Lost Their Medicaid Coverage, but Many May Still Qualify

(NationalUSNews.com) — The answer to medical care in the United States for people who have limited income is usually Medicaid, which is a joint federal and state program. In the pre-pandemic era, state Medicaid agencies implemented yearly audits to remove ineligible individuals but in 2020, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), that required Medicaid and Medicaid-expansion CHIP programs to maintain enrollments for all people who were already enrolled throughout the entire COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The PHE ended in the spring of 2023, causing states to conduct mass-disenrollments.

It is estimated that over 19 million people have lost their medical coverage as a result of the rollback of the pandemic rules, although many are still eligible. While this seems like a staggeringly high number, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have previously stated that about 17 million people lose eligibility every year generally. It is believed that up to 70 percent of the people who lost their Medicaid or CHIP program coverage did so because of procedural reasons rather than actual ineligibility.

The 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act ended the link between the FFCRA’s Medicaid continuous enrollment condition and the COVID-19 PHE, meaning that states were expected to revert to pre-pandemic operating standards starting on April 1. However, due to the calamitous loss of healthcare for so many due to the abrupt change, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Unwinding SEP which will extend the temporary special enrollment period for those recently dropped from Medicaid and CHIP to sign up for new healthcare options through the Marketplace, which is an online portal for helping people ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP find affordable options for health insurance.

However, people who have been disenrolled from Medicaid and CHIP may wish to verify that they are ineligible before moving on to other options. Some may have lost coverage due to delays in paperwork or because state authorities had outdated information. Georgians for a Healthy Future is one of many nonprofit or government-run groups that works with people to navigate their medical coverage. The official Medicaid website is a great place to start, but states, counties and cities also offer in-person assistance through a variety of agencies.

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