Throughout the last three years of the pandemic, the one thing that many families have been spared is Medicaid renewal. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required that families enrolled in Medicaid stay continuously enrolled throughout the public health emergency. It has been so long that it is easy to forget the burden that Medicaid re-enrollment places on stressed families and the risks that losing healthcare coverage places on them. Now, once again, each child in the family will need to have a separate 17 page application turned in each year along with the supporting financial documents to go along with it. In addition, there are still a lot of questions about how returning to the renewal process will take place once it begins on April 1, 2023. It is estimated that 2/3 of families will lose coverage on day 1 if they do not re-enroll, with the remaining 1/3 of Medicaid participants needing to renew at unpredictable times over the next year that will be signaled to families with a letter in the mail.
During the pandemic, many families will have moved multiple times and are at risk of not receiving the notification and finding themselves ineligible for coverage only when they need to seek care. The temporary loss of medicaid coverage of families dis-enrolled is so common that it has its own term – “churn.” Churn can occur at times when families temporarily have higher income levels making them ineligible, and those families that are eligible often don’t receive notices or cannot complete the complicated forms within the required timeframes. Even before there was a 3 year gap to lose track of the forwarding mail address on record, 10.3% of medicaid recipients experienced a temporary lapse in coverage in 2018. We are very concerned about the strain the upcoming changes will have on families and the risk of lapses in care for patients with Medicaid.
One important step to take now is to make sure that your contact information is updated in the Medicaid system in order to receive important alerts about your coverage by going to coverva.org. We are currently brainstorming other ways to help families burdened by the complex paperwork. Stay tuned for updates on office hours for support completing the documents. You can also send us a portal message if you have questions about understanding the impact that this will have on your family. We are proud to be one of the few practices in town to take every insurance, and we are committed to supporting families in this process.