Are Medicaid enrollees in danger of losing coverage?

Sept. 24, 2021

According to a new report from the Urban Institute, Medicaid enrollment has risen substantially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by pandemic-related job losses and the continuous coverage requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The report was published in a release by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Researchers at the Urban Institute report that states have the power to slow the pace of this disenrollment and can provide assistance finding alternative coverage options for these individuals.

Additional findings include:

  • The continuous coverage requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which prohibited state Medicaid agencies from disenrolling beneficiaries during the public health emergency, would increase Medicaid enrollment by an estimated 17 million people from the start of the pandemic to the expected expiration of the public health emergency (PHE) at the end of 2021, reaching a total of 76.3 million Medicaid enrollees under age 65.
  • One-third of adults losing Medicaid coverage in 2022 would be eligible for Marketplace premium tax credits if the enhanced tax credits in the American Rescue Plan Act were made permanent.
  • Of the children losing Medicaid in 2022, 57 percent would be eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and an additional 9 percent would be eligible for Marketplace coverage with tax credits.
  • The number of Medicaid enrollees could decline by about 15 million people during 2022. This includes 8.7 million adults and 5.9 million children. One third of adults losing Medicaid coverage after the PHE could qualify for subsidized private health coverage in the Marketplaces. Nearly all of the remainder would likely have access to an offer of employer coverage in their family deemed affordable under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Researchers report that state efforts to assist enrollment and coordinate between Medicaid and the Marketplaces will be essential to ensure that these people have access to affordable coverage options. Expanding access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare will significantly move the nation closer to reducing long-standing racial and ethnic health disparities that were exacerbated by the pandemic.

Robert Wood Johnson release