As pandemic restrictions lighten up, companies have started changing their restrictions back to what they were pre-Covid-19. The recent change is Medicaid coverage, with the requirements of coverage going back to the way it once was, leaving many people confused and unsure of where they stand.
Medicaid helps people with low incomes by providing insurance to them. According to PBS, Medicaid requires annual enrollment, a policy that changed when the pandemic hit. However, with the public health emergency ending, people using Medicaid have to be enrolled in order to receive benefits.
There are concerns over being able to enroll on time or be notified of the change. An interview done with Taneeza Islam, Executive Director, South Dakota Voices For Peace, by PBS touches on the issues with this change in coverage.
“The thing is, there’s not enough advocates to assist every person who's going to be unenrolled from Medicaid in our state,” Islam states.
The law change from the pandemic expired March 31, as reported by NPR.
Many documents need to be verified in order to receive coverage from Medicaid as well. It can be difficult to obtain those documents from old jobs. Kathryn Bamberger, who works at Southeast Healthcare to serve care to low-income patients, commented on how difficult it is to verify your past jobs.
“Gathering all of the verifications is like the most stressful part. It's a job,” she says.
Another concern with the re-enrollment of Medicaid is the language barriers in the United States.
As reported by NPR, Samuel Camacho, a health insurance navigator with the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, states that, “Individuals are going to be vulnerable because of their lack of English. So they may receive a letter, but they can't read it.”
Coverage may be lost in the next year, according to Health. There is also a chance of wrongful terminations due to the complexity of renewing. One of the main issues with lost coverage is that it takes time to get it again, so during that process, people could become sick or injured and not receive the care they need.
As reported by The New York Times, every state will have different guidelines and regulations in redetermining whether someone is eligible for Medicaid. Somes states even have a Medicaid website where you can create an account and look through your information. Calling the state Medicaid office is also an option.
In New Jersey, every person will have a due date of coverage renewal from June 1, 2023 to May 30, 2024. There will be a 90-day renewal cycle issued every month. The renewal process will take place for 14 days before renewal packets are sent out to members with a 30-day return deadline. After the 90 days, members who did not respond may be reconsidered after submitting eligibility.
Founder of United States of Care, Natalie Davis, touched on who will be affected by this change. United States of Care is an organization focused on advocating for greater access to health care.
According to The New York Times, Davis states, “We know whenever these sorts of moments happen, it’s people of color, it’s kids, it’s people that don’t speak English that are always hit the hardest.”
People are advised to keep an eye on any mail or email from Medicaid regarding coverage renewal. It is essential to respond and update your information as soon as possible in order to lessen the chance of losing coverage.