As of last Saturday, state agencies were allowed to begin removing people from Medicaid who no longer qualify for the program – something they have been barred from doing since the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in 2020. That relief package offered states additional federal funding in exchange for the continuous enrollment of Medicaid recipients. Thanks in part to the continuous coverage provision in the FFCRA, the nation’s uninsured rate has reached a record low and enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has increased to over 90 million people. However, with Medicaid redeterminations resuming, an estimated 15 million to 18 million people will be at risk of losing their Medicaid coverage over the next few months. This number includes nearly 7 million people who will remain technically eligible for the program, but face barriers to filling out the required paperwork and updating the contact information necessary for a timely Medicaid renewal.
While some states are planning to undergo the redetermination process over the next 12 to 14 months, others are moving quickly to remove those deemed ineligible from the program. Residents in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire and South Dakota are among the first to face the redetermination process and eligibility terminations. Although annual eligibility redeterminations can save states money by removing individuals from the program who no longer qualify for coverage, they often result in a “churn” that incorrectly removes people from the program when they are still eligible. This churn can be caused by a lack of awareness or confusion about the redetermination process among Medicaid recipients. Experts worry that states who are too quick to resume redeterminations will result in more eligible recipients being incorrectly terminated. In addition to the five states cutting off coverage in April, 14 plan to follow in May and 20 additional states plus the District of Columbia in June. All states are required to complete the redetermination process over the next 14 months.