16 million could lose Medicaid when pandemic public health emergency ends

As many as 16 million people could lose their Medicaid coverage when the HHS public health emergency ends, according to a March 9 analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

Together, researchers from both organizations found that up to 13 million people would lose coverage if the emergency ends after the first quarter of this year. If the emergency were to expire after the second quarter of 2022, more than 14 million people would lose coverage and if it ends after the third quarter, almost 16 million would lose coverage.

"As families continue to face health and economic consequences of the ongoing pandemic, large-scale, rapid Medicaid disenrollment could have serious effects on the well-being of millions of people," said Matthew Buettgens, senior fellow at the Urban Institute in a news release. 

Throughout the pandemic, continuous Medicaid coverage provided stable health insurance to millions of people as unemployment skyrocketed. While many of those at risk of losing Medicaid coverage may be eligible for other subsidized health plans, these may cost more, straining those most in need. Due to the potential for state processing systems to struggle with the volume of eligibility determinations, some people who are eligible for Medicaid are at risk of being disenrolled.

"We risk seriously losing ground on coverage, a problem which will only be worsened if we don't act to extend the ACA tax credits," said Katherine Hempstead, senior policy advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.



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