Up to 14 million people could lose Medicaid coverage when health emergency ends: study
(The Hill) – Up to 14.2 million people could lose Medicaid coverage when the public health emergency for COVID-19 ends, according to a new analysis.
The Kaiser Family Foundation analysis projects that between 5.3 million and 14.2 million people could lose Medicaid when the public health emergency ends. Under a coronavirus relief bill passed in 2020, states received additional Medicaid funding in exchange for not removing anyone from Medicaid rosters for the duration of the public health emergency.
Once the emergency is over, states will begin withdrawing people who are no longer eligible for Medicaid again, causing a significant upheaval, where even some people who remain eligible could fall through bureaucratic cracks in the system. Others who are no longer eligible for Medicaid may not know they are eligible for other types of coverage, such as subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act markets.
The KFF analysis does not estimate how many people losing Medicaid would become uninsured and how many would find other coverage, such as in ACA markets.
Potential coverage losses in Medicaid add a complication for the Biden administration as it decides when to end the public health emergency, which it renews every 90 days. It is currently due to expire on July 15. Officials said they will give states 60 days notice of when it will end, so that notice should come in mid-May if it is to end this summer.
There has been significant growth in Medicaid due to the requirement not to discharge people. There will be 22.2 million more people in the program in 2022 compared to 2019, an increase of around 25%, according to the analysis.
The analysis reached its coverage loss estimates using surveys of state Medicaid directors, who estimated how much enrollment would drop in their state when the emergency ended. But he acknowledges that there is significant uncertainty around the estimates.