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End of continuous Medicaid coverage could result in millions uninsured, experts say


As of April 1, states have been able to reevaluate people for continued Medicaid coverage and many don't know of the change

The continuous Medicaid coverage that has been in place since the pandemic started is over. As of April 1 states have been able to end someone’s Medicaid coverage if they no longer qualify.

Dr. Kathy Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said surveys have shown most people don’t know this is happening, and certain groups will be at most risk of losing benefits.

“People of color are disproportionately enrolled in the Medicaid program so they are more likely to be affected by re-determination, but also people of color and particularly people with limited English proficiency are more likely to be changing addresses,” she said.

And that means perhaps missing an important mailing about all this. Hempstead said people in New Jersey are fortunate though.

“What New Jersey has going for it is that it expanded Medicaid so it has more opportunities for eligibility, it also has its own state-based marketplace and there’s a good communication between the Medicaid agency and the state-based marketplace,” she said, which helps keep people from falling through the cracks in the system.

“And what we’ve learned from some surveys that we’ve done and others have done is that the majority of Medicaid enrollees as of February don’t know that this is happening, it stands to reason, people don’t think about their health insurance unless they lose it,” said Hempstead.

Experts say up to 18 million people could lose Medicaid coverage from being reevaluated, 7 million just for administrative reasons.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.