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Almost 1 in 4 People Disenrolled From Medicaid Are Now Uninsured
  • Posted April 12, 2024

Almost 1 in 4 People Disenrolled From Medicaid Are Now Uninsured

Nearly a quarter of Americans who lost their pandemic-era Medicaid coverage say they're now without any health insurance, a new survey finds.

More than half (54%) of these currently uninsured adults cited cost as the reason keeping them from having coverage.

The survey of 1,227 adults was conducted this February and March by KFF (formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation). It included people who said they had Medicaid coverage in early 2023 -- prior to the repeal of pandemic-era eligibility rules on April 1, 2023.

About one in five (19%) of all people who had been on Medicaid in early 2023 were disenrolled at some point later that year, the survey found.

Seventy percent of that group said they subsequently went through a temporary period of being uninsured.

Most did eventually gain insurance: Forty-seven percent managed to re-apply and get reinstated on Medicaid, while another 28% said they found insurance via their work, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act's marketplace or military-based health care.

More than a third of folks who sought to regain some kind of coverage said they found the process difficult, the survey found, and nearly half (48%) called it stressful.

Long phone call wait times, excessive paperwork and trouble figuring out what paperwork was needed were common complaints.

Speaking to CBS News, Kate McEvoy, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said that millions of people are currently being redetermined for eligibility, and that has swamped some state call centers.

According to McEvoy, states did try to reach out to enrollees prior to the post-pandemic changes in eligibility, using media campaigns, texts, emails, and apps.

However, "until the moment your coverage is at stake, it's hard to penetrate people's busy lives," she said.

Interruptions in coverage can have an almost immediate impact on health: More than half (56%) of folks polled by KFF said they'd missed needed health care or skipped prescriptions as they waited to regain coverage.

Among people who have found a form of health insurance other than Medicaid, worries around cost remain.

More than three-quarters (76%) of folks with insurance say "they are worried about affording the cost of health care services," according to a KFF news release. Only 47% of people who retained Medicaid felt the same.

More information

Find out how you can help maintain your coverage at medicaid.gov

SOURCES: KFF, news release, April 12, 2024; CBS News

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