If you have health care coverage through Medicaid, you might lose that coverage in the next year. About 84 million people are covered by the government-sponsored program, which has grown by 20 million people since January 2020.
Many states are checking people’s eligibility for Medicaid for the first time in three years, and up to 14 million people could lose access to healthcare coverage. The reason is they may no longer qualify for the Medicaid program. If you rely on the Medicaid program, here is what you need to know.
What Will Happen to Medicaid?
When the pandemic started, the federal government said that states could not stop people from having Medicaid even if they were no longer eligible. Before the pandemic, people could lose their Medicaid coverage if they started making too much money to qualify for the program, gained healthcare coverage through an employer, or moved into a new state. That all stopped once COVID-19 hit.
In the next year, states will check if everyone on Medicaid is still eligible. People must fill out forms with their personal information, like address, income, and how many people live in their house.
When Will I Lose My Coverage?
The date when states will remove people from Medicaid will depend on what state they live in. Some states are going to start earlier than others. For example, in April, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia will begin removing people who are not supposed to be on Medicaid. In May, June, or July, other states will start taking that step too.
Some people will not be removed from the program right away. States want to ensure that everyone receiving help is supposed to be getting it. They will check people’s eligibility over nine months to one year.
How Would I Know If I’m Losing Coverage?
It’s important to keep your contact information up to date with the state you get Medicaid. They will mail you a form to renew your benefits. The government requires states to remind you another way – like by phone, text, or email – to complete the form.
Kate McEvoy, the executive director of the nonprofit National Association of Medicaid Directors, said that people might not open mailed notices even if they have the right address. She said a text message would be more accessible because it is less intimidating than a mailed notice.
Some states have already used texting to remind patients about things like getting a COVID-19 vaccine or an upcoming doctor’s visit. However, sending mass texts about Medicaid eligibility will be new. You will have up to 30 days to submit the form. If you don’t fill out the form, states can remove your Medicaid coverage.
Are There Viable Options If I’m Taken Off Medicaid?
Without Medicaid, people can get healthcare coverage from the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. They can find health care coverage that may cost less than $10 a month.
But the insurance you can get from the marketplace will differ from what you can get from Medicaid. With marketplace insurance, you might have to pay more money yourself, and you might have to pay a part of the cost when you go to the doctor. Also, ensure your insurance plan covers your doctor before you buy it.
If you are unenrolled from Medicaid, you can reapply from March 31 to July 31, 2024. According to information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, people who lose their coverage within this time frame will have up to 60 days to re-enroll.
This article was produced on Health Makes You.