Audits Could Leave Many People Without Health Insurance

State audits have the potential to impact 15 million individuals including 6 million children losing their health insurance. Some state workers are concerned that they might lack the resources to aid people in finding new insurance coverage. 

The existing federal public health emergency will expire this year, which will subsequently trigger a requirement that state workers must examine Medicaid to determine who qualifies as eligible. Over the last two years, these audits have been suspended. With the resumption of these adults, up to 15 million individuals are losing their medical insurance.

The Role of the Biden Administration

The Biden administration states that a maximum of a year to perform these audits. Several insurance experts have stated that the absence of a fixed date on which the work is to begin complicates efforts to prepare for what will likely be the most substantial change with health insurance since the Affordable Care has been passed.

Additionally, the Biden administration recently increased the duration of the country’s public health emergency another several months to April 15th. The White House is likely to let this status expire after the number of Covid-19 cases drop and vaccine rates increase. 

Assistance from Congress

Congress could help lessen the severity of the situation if it decoupled the requirement to keep people on state Medicaid rolls from the public health emergency and arranged a set when the pandemic-associated policies will end. State workers are also requesting federal legislatures provide more money and suggest the creation of more requirements for the unwinding. More requirements, state workers argue, could protect against pressure to speed through the process to save money. 

Losing Medicaid

Most often when people lose Medicaid coverage, it is because their income surpasses the eligibility threshold. People also commonly lose Medicaid coverage because they fail to submit paperwork to establish that they qualify for Medicaid. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic, states received additional federal funding in exchange for agreeing  not to kick people off Medicaid. Consequently, Medicaid enrollment increased 20 percent of the following 16 months to an all-time high.

Various complications would like result from removing 16 million people from Medicaid. Many people may not be aware that they lose their health insurance or what options are available to ursue new coverage. This will likely be not only a problem for states, but also the Biden administration, which might be left to face a substantial increase in the number of uninsured people during the year. 

If states begin the audit process too early, they will be left to pay for resources they don’t need and wasting the opportunity they have to communicate with a vulnerable population. If states begin the audit process too late, states might lack the infrastructure to facilitate a large number of residents re-enrolling in Medicaid or transitioning to other insurance options.

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