On April 1, the Medicaid continuous coverage provision officially came to an end after three years. This provision was put in place through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which became law in March 2020 and authorized an increase in the federal Medicaid funds for states and required them to keep people continuously enrolled without redetermination of eligibility. Officials at state and local agencies have been preparing for the unwinding of Medicaid benefits, a daunting administrative task that will threaten the loss of healthcare coverage for 14 to 18 million people. The unwinding process will involve contacting current enrollees, verifying eligibility, and re-enrolling program participants or helping them find alternative coverage options. This process will be made even more difficult due to the fact that many agencies are facing hiring challenges and staffing shortages.
This week, the Biden Administration announced new rules that would allow immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to qualify for healthcare coverage through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. According to the White House, this expansion of coverage would benefit over 580,000 DACA recipients. While changes in federal regulations often take long periods of time for public comment, a statement from the White House indicates this is a top priority of the Administration. “We recognize that every day counts, and we expect to get the proposed rule done by the end of the month,” the White House said it in its statement. Up until now, both ACA marketplaces and the Medicaid program have been closed to DACA recipients, making it more difficult for immigrants to receive healthcare coverage. According to data from 2021, nearly one-fourth of all legal immigrants and half of undocumented immigrants were uninsured.