Biden Admin Implores States to Slow Medicaid Cuts After More Than 1M Enrollees Dropped

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Health

Too many Americans are losing Medicaid coverage because of red tape, and states should do more to make sure eligible people keep their health insurance, the Biden administration said Monday.

More than a million Americans have lost coverage through the program for low-income and disabled Americans in the past several weeks, following the end of pandemic protections on April 1, according to the latest Medicaid renewal data from more than 20 states.

After a three-year pause, most states have now resumed checking which Medicaid recipients remain eligible and dropping those who no longer qualify or don’t complete required paperwork. About 4 in 5 people dropped so far either never returned the paperwork or omitted required documents, federal and state data show.

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Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, decried those numbers in a letter sent to state governors on June 12.

“I am deeply concerned with the number of people unnecessarily losing coverage, especially those who appear to have lost coverage for avoidable reasons that State Medicaid offices have the power to prevent or mitigate,” he wrote.

The Biden administration outlined several optional steps states can take to ensure everyone who still qualifies for the safety-net health insurance program stays covered. For instance, states can pause the cancellations to allow more time to reach people who haven’t responded. Health insurance companies that manage Medicaid plans can help their enrollees fill out the paperwork.

Some states were already choosing to take extra time. Though Wyoming began renewals in May, the state is being “deliberately cautious” and won’t drop people for incomplete paperwork until July or August, state Health Department spokesperson Kim Deti said. …

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