Pandemic benefits established by Congress are coming to an end. One of the most important benefits has been the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Guarantee, which is now coming to an end. This is often referred to as the “unwinding” of Medicaid.
Please read on for more information below, and to learn how Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) can help those who have benefitted from Medicaid during the pandemic.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created an important health care safeguard for the poorest Americans – Medicaid eligibility and continuous enrollment in Medicaid, for people who might have otherwise lost it during the COVID pandemic.
This benefit allowed people to remain on Medicaid without having to go through the usual redetermination process, which is often fraught and often results in people losing their Medicaid coverage. This benefit has been in place for nearly three years. But now, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, Congress has set March 31, 2023 as a firm date for the end of continuous coverage.
After that date, states will once again have to conduct eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid. This will require states to do in a matter of months what they previously would have been doing continuously over multiple years.
The expansion of Medicaid enrollment over the past few years
Federal estimates show that Medicaid enrollment stood at over 90.9 million people – more than one in four Americans. The enrollment increase is partially the result of Medicaid’s ability to expand when people need it, without an open- or special-enrollment period, as with other forms of insurance. During the pandemic, the need for Medicaid surged as a result of job loss, economic dislocation, and unprecedented sudden health threats. Some Medicaid disenrollment would be expected to occur naturally, as people return to work and shift to employer-sponsored health insurance plans or ACA Marketplace plans. But one of the main causes of Medicaid expansion during the pandemic has simply been the result of allowing for continuous enrollment. But that is now coming to an end.
What will happen with the end of Medicaid’s continuous enrollment guarantee?
The federal government estimates that enrollment could end for nearly 15 million people. Approximately half of this group will lose Medicaid eligibility as a result of increases in income. However, approximately 6.8 million are estimated to lose Medicaid as a result of “administrative churning”, which refers to problems with the eligibility redetermination process, even if the people actually remain eligible for Medicaid.
What should Medicaid beneficiaries in Illinois do?
This is the time for Medicaid beneficiaries to take action to protect their Medicaid coverage! The most important thing you can do to maintain your Medicaid coverage is to update your mailing address with Illinois Medicaid online or by phone 877-805-5312 from 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CCHCC can also help make these updates!
CCHCC is here to help!
CCHCC is here to help Medicaid beneficiaries in our community navigate these changes, so that they do not have to lose vital health insurance coverage! If you need help updating your mailing address and/or maintaining your Medicaid coverage, please contact CCHCC. You can call 217-352-6533 and leave a message, or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How you can help!
You can help by sharing this information and this message, to help us reach as many people as possible. You can also help by making a financial contribution to support CCHCC’s work.
We appreciate your support and help!
Champaign County Health Care Consumers