If you receive healthcare through Medicaid, you might run the risk of losing coverage at some point in 2023. However, there is no need to panic, as you have a viable option that can make up for the lost healthcare insurance coverage.
Nearly 92 million people living in the United States receive some form of Medicaid coverage. The federal program has increased the number of recipients by more than 20 million people since January 2020, which was just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.
Because of the pandemic, most states placed a moratorium on checking for Medicaid eligibility. For the first time in more than three years, many of the states that stopped checking for Medicaid eligibility are starting to comb through their databases to determine if the right people qualify for the right benefits. This means that in 2023, as many as 14 million people might lose their eligibility to participate in the Medicaid program.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid represents the public health insurance program for low-income people living in the United States. The federal program covers about one out of every five Americans, which includes many people that require costly care to address complex healthcare issues. Medicaid is the primary long-term healthcare solution for millions of participants. A vast majority of recipients do not have access to other health insurance options. In addition to funding the health insurance policies of income-deprived Americans, Medicaid also provides substantial financing for hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and community health centers.
When Might I Lose My Medicaid Health Insurance Coverage?
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government prevented states from removing Medicaid recipients from the health insurance program. Before the pandemic, states conducted regular audits to ensure every Medicaid participant met the income requirements established for eligibility. By the end of 2002, with the pandemic waning in strength, the federal government gave states the green light to continue audits for income eligibility.
When you might lose Medicaid coverage depends on the state where you live. Some states, such as Arizona, Florida, and New Hampshire, are moving quickly to conduct income eligibility audits as soon as April of 2023. Other states plan to wait until May, June, or July to initiate income eligibility audits. The state where you live should send a renewal form to the address listed in the Medicaid database. This means you need to update your contact information if you have moved over the past three years.
The federal government also requires your state to contact you in another way, such as by email, phone, or text message. Even if a mailed renewal notice reaches the correct address, the recipient might ignore it and thus, miss out on receiving Medicaid benefits. Kate McEvoy, who is the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors recently said, “A text might just grab someone’s attention in a way that would be more accessible.”
You have 30 days to submit the renewal form.
What Should I Do If I Lose Medicaid Coverage in 2023?
The best option for receiving health insurance if Medicaid removes you from its rolls involves enrolling for coverage through the National Health Insurance Marketplace supported by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although you might find health insurance coverage that is as low as $10 a month, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses are often higher when Americans shop for health insurance through the National Marketplace. In addition, you have to find a policy that allows you to see the same physician, if that is one of your priorities.
The open enrollment period for participating in the National Health Insurance Marketplace runs every year between November 1 and January 15 the following year. However, you might qualify to sign up for a health insurance policy during a special enrollment period. Losing Medicaid coverage typically qualifies for the type of life event that makes you eligible to purchase health insurance coverage during the special enrollment period. You have 60 days if approved for a special enrollment period to buy a health insurance policy. For example, if you lose your Medicaid health insurance coverage on June 1, 2023, you have until July 30, 2023, to buy a policy during a special enrollment period.
Although you might have to pay more in co-pays and out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, the ACA grants subsidies for enrollees that have low or moderate incomes. Subsidies for health insurance coverage go as high as 100 percent of the monthly cost of a health insurance policy premium. However, you might fall into what is referred to as the Medicaid gap, which means you no longer qualify for Medicaid health insurance, but you also earn too much money to qualify for an ACA subsidy.
The Bottom Line: Be Proactive and Navigate Your Options With Insurance Broker Hub
If you are one of the millions of Americans that did not undergo a Medicaid income eligibility audit over the past three years, the clock is ticking toward the day when your income comes under scrutiny. Be proactive by determining whether you remain eligible for Medicaid assistance.
If you’re looking for help understanding your options, Insurance Broker Hub can help.
Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.