In this Beyond the Basics webinar presented by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on December 8, 2021, Jen Wagner, Director of Medicaid Eligibility & Enrollment, and Farah Erzouki, Senior Policy Analyst, explained important upcoming changes that will impact people who are enrolled in Medicaid and may lead to…
How does the COVID-19 public health emergency impact Medicaid?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law in March 2020, put into place protections for people enrolled in Medicaid to ensure that they were able to stay covered during the public health emergency (PHE).
FFCRA provided states with additional Medicaid funding in exchange for the states agreeing to not terminate any enrollee's Medicaid coverage during the PHE, regardless of whether the enrollees experienced changes in their income or family size that may have made them ineligible for Medicaid.
These protections are scheduled to end in 2022, at which point states will start conducting full Medicaid eligibility redeterminations again. Experts believe that millions of people will lose their Medicaid coverage once these redeterminations begin, including significant numbers of people who are still eligible for Medicaid.
Due to structural racism, Black and Latino/a individuals are more likely to have experienced instability in employment and housing during the pandemic, which means they will be most at risk of losing their Medicaid coverage when redeterminations resume.
There are a number of reasons why people who are still eligible for Medicaid could lose their coverage, such as:
- They moved or changed their contact information so they won't receive letters from the Medicaid agency about the redetermination process.
- They receive letters from the Medicaid agency about the redetermination process but are unsure of what steps they need to take.
- They miss the deadline to submit required documents to the Medicaid agency to verify their eligibility.
Another challenge is that Medicaid enrollees whose income went up since March 2020, making them ineligible for Medicaid, may end up uninsured despite likely being eligible for free or low-cost health insurance in the marketplace.
But assisters can play a critical role in helping people stay covered! Here are just a few ways in which assisters can help:
- Doing community outreach and education to make sure people know about these upcoming changes
- Helping people update their address and contact information with the Medicaid agency so they receive letters and notices
- Providing enrollment assistance to people who lose their Medicaid coverage