On July 28, the Biden Administration released new data confirming that many who had health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic are now losing it. While a decline in Medicaid coverage was expected, health officials are sounding the alarm over the large number of people being removed from the program due to administrative errors or for failing to return the proper paperwork. According to newly released data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), of those removed from Medicaid, 4 in 5 were for procedural reasons. On Friday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a letter to state governors imploring them to take action to retain people on Medicaid. In the letter, Becerra encouraged state Medicaid agencies to use electronic information from other federal programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to automatically confirm people’s eligibility for Medicaid, averting the need for more paperwork and return documents.
According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of uninsured Americans fell to a record low of 7.7% in March – just weeks before Medicaid redeterminations resumed on April 1. Experts believe the uninsured rate has likely risen since due to the redetermination process, which has resulted in the removal of an estimated 3.8 million Americans from the Medicaid program. The nation’s uninsured rate has remained below 11% since 2015 thanks to the individual insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The low uninsured rate has also been credited to Medicaid expansion across many states, as well as recent federal subsidies in the ACA exchanges. Health officials predict that more than 15 million people will be removed from Medicaid at the end of the redetermination process, with more than six million becoming fully uninsured.