The nation’s health insurance system is undergoing tremendous upheaval as an estimated 8.2 million people will need to find new coverage since pandemic protections for Medicaid enrollees came to an end this spring.
That’s leaving many patients confused about how to get new medical insurance.
“It’s an overwhelming task,” said Taffy Morrison, who is working to connect Louisiana residents to new coverage through the nonprofit Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center. But Morrison reminds people: “Don’t panic. There is help.”
For many of those kicked off Medicaid, a state-federal health insurance program that covers people with low incomes and disabilities, new insurance will come from their employers. Others may need to turn to the Affordable Care Act online marketplaces to replace their coverage.
Elevance insurance officials told investors in mid-July they were seeing signs of movement from Medicaid to exchange plans as states ramp up reviews of who still qualifies for the public insurance program. The company, formerly called Anthem, reported 18.2% growth in its exchange plans from the year before, with its marketplace plans now covering at least 949,000 people.
To prevent gaps in insurance coverage, some states, such as California and Rhode Island, will automatically enroll people who lose Medicaid in such marketplace plans. But elsewhere, Morrison and workers at similar nonprofit health groups nationwide are helping people navigate the difficult administrative process of finding the right plan. Known as “navigators” or “assisters” and publicly funded, they work with patients free of charge.
Consumers should …