Why could millions of Americans lose Medicaid coverage in 2023?
More than 20 million people have been added to Medicaid since the start of the pandemic but many of them could soon lose access to the program.
The passing of Congress’ $1.7 trillion omnibus package provided the funding required to prevent a partial government shutdown over the holidays. That bill was required to keep federal programs running for 2023, but some major changes were included in the final package to ensure it passed.
Chief amongst those changes was a provision that will allow states to remove millions of people off Medicaid from April 2023. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that roughly 20% of current recipients could lose Medicaid coverage.
This equates to more than 15 million Americans.
When a public health emergency (PHE) was declared in early 2020 to help tackle the covid-19 pandemic, states were prevented from removing anyone from Medicaid. Eligibility for the heavily subsidised healthcare is based on a variety of economic and personal factors, meaning that people are added to and removed from Medicaid as their situation changes.
However the PHE ensured that no one has been removed from Medicaid in nearly two years. In this time the number of people on Medicaid has swelled by around 20 million, adding a significant financial burden.
During negotiations for the recent omnibus package, it was decided that this additional coverage was no longer justifiable and the program should return to pre-pandemic conditions. Federal funding for the additional Medicaid claimants will be gradually removed during 2023 and states will once again be able to remove those who no longer satisfy the eligibility.
Am I going to lose my Medicaid coverage?
From 1 April onwards, states will be free to remove people from Medicaid coverage if they do not satisfy the eligibility terms. Medicaid is a program provided jointly by federal and state government, meaning that the exact requirements can vary between states.
Broadly, however, Medicaid is designed to offer coverage for low-income households, pregnant women and children. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are always eligible for Medicaid, as are certain vulnerable groups.
If you are currently in receipt of Medicaid coverage but have seen your income increase since the start of the pandemic, there is a chance that you could be removed from the plan from April onwards. However states are required to inform claimants if they are going to lose coverage.
Jennifer Tolbert of the Kaiser Family Foundation explains: “What the state is required to do is use available electronic data sources to assess whether the person is still eligible for Medicaid. They will check things like residency, do they still live in the state, what their current income and family situation is, and. based on that, do they still meet the eligibility requirements.”
Those who are currently on Medicaid are advised to ensure that their contact information is up to date to ensure that they are made aware of any changed to their eligibility status.
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