Washington, DC – Millions of children are losing needed Medicaid coverage in states that are not taking advantage of opportunities to decrease risks associated with the renewal process. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an informational bulletin encouraging all states to “redouble” their efforts to maintain sufficient Medicaid coverage for eligible children and others subject to renewals with the ending of the Medicaid continuous coverage provision. Since the unwinding process began in March, 2.2 million children have lost Medicaid coverage, primarily in states that have not taken advantage of many of the federal opportunities for flexibility in maintaining coverage.
CMS also announced that Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra sent letters to the nine states with the largest number or highest percentage of children who have lost Medicaid or CHIP coverage since full eligibility renewals for these programs restarted this spring: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. The Secretary reminded them of the available strategies to keep children enrolled in Medicaid. States that are using Medicaid flexibilities during unwinding (called “(e)(14) waivers”) are maintaining better enrollment numbers, meaning that when a state adopts flexible and proactive enrollment policies, children and their families face fewer of the risks associated with loss of health care coverage.
Mara Youdelman, NHeLP Managing Director of Federal Advocacy states: “With over 2 million children losing Medicaid since the end of Medicaid’s continuous coverage provision, states need to step up and take every opportunity they can to stem further losses. States that eliminate burdensome yet unnecessary hurdles for enrollees have been able to keep more children on Medicaid. Health care should be a human right and no one should lose Medicaid solely due to states’ failures to streamline and provide assistance in the redetermination process as they are supposed to. Unintelligible notices, hours-long waits at call centers, misinformation, premiums for children, and unnecessarily complicated processes all prevent eligible individuals from retaining much needed coverage.”