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If the public health emergency expires, millions are set to lose health insurance.
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, millions of people were enrolled in Medicaid thanks to a law that prevented state agencies from disenrolling people during the emergency.
Currently, the public health emergency is set to expire in April 2023, and when it does, an estimated 18 million people will be in danger of losing their Medicaid coverage in the following 14 months because states will resume their normal eligibility requirements, according to the Urban Institute.
Of the 18 million, 3.2 million children will transition from Medicaid to the CHIP program, though some enrollees may have to pay premiums for coverage they did not have to pay under Medicaid. An estimated 1 million people losing Medicaid coverage will enroll in nongroup coverage, mainly through the Marketplace coverage with government assistance. The report estimates that 9.5 million will be eligible for employer-sponsored insurance, but that not everyone will enroll. In total, 3.8 million of the 18 million losing Medicaid coverage are expected to be uninsured.
People transitioning from Medicaid to private coverage will pay more in premiums and out-of-pocket health costs, and may experience a temporary interruption in health coverage enrolling in alternate coverage. An estimated 19 states will see their uninsurance rates spike by more than 20%.
“State policy decisions during the transition following the PHE expiration will affect how many people lose coverage, how rapidly they lose coverage, and how many people will enroll in other coverage,” the report reads in part.