After being disenrolled from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), 65% of people had a period of uninsurance, a recent analysis found.
The report came from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and used pre-pandemic data from the 2016-2019 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. It aimed to examine what could happen to those disenrolled from Medicaid and CHIP once the continuous enrollment requirement ends March 31. The requirement was part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was enacted in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and barred states from disenrolling people from Medicaid during the public health emergency. In December, the Consolidated Appropriation Act was signed into law and will end the continuous enrollment requirement on March 31.
“A key question is whether people losing Medicaid will be able to transition to and retain other forms of coverage, including Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace plans with premium assistance or employer-sponsored health benefits,” KFF said in the report.
The analysis found that of the 65% of Medicaid/CHIP enrollees who were uninsured for a period after disenrollment, 17% were uninsured for the full year. Another 16% were uninsured for part of the year and then gained another form of coverage, and 33% were uninsured and later re-enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP before the end of the year.
Additionally, 35% of enrollees were able to maintain coverage after disenrollment, including 26% who had another source of coverage for the full year. The remaining 9% had another source of coverage for part of the year and then re-enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP before the year ended.
KFF’s findings have several implications. The research organization estimates that up to 14 million people will lose Medicaid coverage once the continuous enrollment provision ends, and many of these people will likely end up uninsured for a period of time afterwards.
“These findings highlight that many people do not transition to and retain other coverage after they disenroll from Medicaid/CHIP,” KFF said.
There are several steps state Medicaid agencies and other stakeholders can take to ease disruptions, however. They can improve state eligibility systems and make renewal procedures more efficient. They can also communicate with enrollees about renewing in coverage or help them transition to the ACA Marketplace.
“Although our analysis provides a pre-pandemic baseline for peoples’ health insurance changes after losing Medicaid/CHIP coverage, state policies for the unwinding will have a major impact on whether people will be more successful in transitioning to other coverage after losing Medicaid compared to pre-pandemic trends,” the researchers stated.
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