Many people with Medicaid believe they are uninsured: Study

Many people disenrolled from Medicaid during the redeterminations process were likely unaware they had coverage to begin with, a study published in the May issue of Health Affairs found. 

In 2021, 2.7 million people with Medicaid coverage in 2021 reported becoming uninsured in 2022. Because states were prohibited from disenrolling people from Medicaid during the COVID-19 public health emergency, these individuals were likely unaware they retained their Medicaid coverage. 

The researchers predicted around 5.9 million people will become uninsured through the Medicaid redetermination process. Of those, 2.7 million already reported being uninsured in 2022. Because many uninsured individuals were unaware they previously had Medicaid coverage, the Medicaid unwinding process is likely to affect the uninsurance rate less than disenrollment statistics show, the study's authors wrote. 

"Our finding that millions of Medicaid enrollees believed that they were uninsured suggests that the continuous coverage provision was not effectively communicated to all beneficiaries," the study's authors wrote." Medicaid renewal efforts should always consider including outreach strategies to specifically target the substantial population of people who are enrolled in Medicaid but are unaware of that fact." 

As of May 10, 21.9 million people have been disenrolled from Medicaid, according to KFF. Of those disenrolled, 69% had their coverage terminated for procedural reasons, such as failing to return required paperwork, rather than being determined ineligible for the program. 

Because millions of people with Medicaid coverage are unaware they are insured, managed care plans may be overpaid as a result, the study's authors wrote. Because managed care plans are paid per enrollee, they retain payments for enrollees who use no medical services because they believe they are uninsured. 

The study was written by researchers at New York University and Harvard University in Boston. Read the full study here.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Top 40 articles from the past 6 months