Thousands of people are losing their coverage and scrambling to find health insurance since Pandemic-era Medicaid auto-enrollment ended in April. We spoke with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services as well as a Medicaid Recipient to see how the process is affecting people in the Commonwealth.
It’s been over two months now since Medicaid has returned to pre-pandemic rules and the State is still processing renewals. The Pandemic era Medicaid auto-enrollment policy ended on April 1st and now hundreds of thousands of people are expected to lose their medical coverage in the coming year. Medicaid is a joint Federal and State health insurance program that provides coverage for people under a certain income threshold. During the Pandemic, Lawmakers passed a rule that kept people automatically enrolled in the program, even if they no longer met the requirements for coverage. Now that that rule is expired, many people find themselves ineligible and without coverage.
Medicaid Recipient Ted Wilson saying: “It was a big letdown actually because I have been running the system 3 or 4 times trying to get coverage and this is about my fourth attempt and I finally was able to make it happen but due to the pandemic rules ending I became uninsured when I should have kept my coverage.”
We spoke with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services about the losses and they told us quote: “It is important to note that no one will lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage without first having an opportunity to renew their coverage or update their information. DHS is required to give 15 days’ notice before we close a Medicaid case, and these individuals will be informed that they can still submit their renewal or verification to DHS for reconsideration of their medical benefits within 90 days of the closure with no lapse in coverage. Individuals who have been disenrolled can also request an appeal if they do not agree with DHS’ eligibility determination.”
But for those trying to re-enroll, the effects of going back to pre-pandemic rules are already impacting Residents across the State. Wilson adding: “I’m looking to have a similar experience that I did the first time where it was hard to get them my information to process a coverage plan or find an affordable one. I’m a single person living on my own paying for all expenses. Everything has gone up in inflation and healthcare coverage being not as accessible again, it wears on a busy person that’s working middle class. It’s really a bummer because if something happens, I don’t have that safety net there anymore.”
For more information on Medicaid re-enrollment, you can visit dhs.pa.gov.