After the Covid-19 public health emergency ends, a projected 17.4% of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program participants will lose coverage, a new report found. This amounts to about 15 million people.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report released Tuesday is based on historical patterns of coverage loss. It used the Survey of Income and Program Participation with data from March 2015 to November 2016.
During the public health emergency Covid-19, the government introduced a continuous enrollment requirement. It prohibits states from disenrolling Medicaid participants during the emergency period. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report shown that Medicaid/CHIP enrollment has grown 23.9% since February 2020. Meanwhile, HHS report found that the national uninsured rate had hit a record low of 8 percent in early 2022. The changes were due in part to the continuous enrollment provision.
After the public emergency ends and the continuous enrollment requirement is lifted, about 9.5 percent of Medicaid enrollees, or 8.2 million people, will leave Medicaid due to loss of eligibility. Another 7.9 percent of enrollees, or 6.8 million people, will lose coverage despite being eligible, the report said. This is due to “administrative churn,” which refers to loss of coverage when people have difficulty renewing.
Those who will be most affected by the end of the public health emergency are children, young people and minority groups. About 5.3 million children and 4.7 million adults ages 18 to 34 would lose Medicaid/CHIP coverage, as would about 4.6 million Hispanics and 2.2 million black Americans, HHS projected.
Of those expected to lose coverage, about a third are likely to be eligible for the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace premium tax credits. More than 60% of these individuals will be eligible for zero-premium Marketplace plans through American Rescue Plan. Another 5 million people will get other coverage, mostly through employer-sponsored insurance.
But not everyone will be so lucky, the report said. About 383,000 individuals expected to lose Medicaid eligibility will be in the “coverage gap” in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid. These are people whose incomes are too high for Medicaid but too low to get Marketplace tax credits. States that have not expanded Medicaid are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“Among the 12 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, expanding Medicaid to low-income adults is another critical tool to reduce the risk of coverage losses after [public health emergency],” HHS said.
Photo: designer491, Getty Images