Millions on Medicaid to Lose Covid-Era Protections This Weekend

March 31, 2023

A Covid-era rule that allowed for Medicaid waivers and flexibility is set to expire at midnight Friday, impacting millions of current recipients.

The April 1 date to end the Medicald expansion was agreed upon by the 117th Congress when it passed the year-end  $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill in December.

The deadline is occurring as the Biden Administration transitions the nation out of the Covid-era national emergency and public health emergency, both of which will officially end on May 11.

Medicaid provides free health insurance to people whose income falls below a certain dollar amount, which varies from state to state. Normally, recipients of Medicaid need to renew their coverage every year. But lawmakers passed a rule in 2020 allowing people to remain automatically enrolled amid Covid.

When that automatic renewal ends, some 15 million people who are no longer eligible for the program risk losing their healthcare coverage, according to KFF, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

The non-profit KFF says some 95 million people are currently enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, which provides low-cost coverage to children.

Beginning Saturday, states will be allowed to begin what’s expected to be a 12-month “unwinding” process, during which they will resume their annual Medicaid renewals and unenroll people who are no longer eligible for coverage.

Eight states began sending renewal notices to Medicaid recipients in February, followed by another 15 states in March, according to KFF. Another 28 states are expected to begin the process in April. 

The states must give enrollees at least 30 days to respond to a renewal notice and another 10 days following a notice of termination of coverage.

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