Millions of Medicaid recipients may lose benefits in April

Kristen Walters

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Medicaid is a government-funded health care program designed to be a "safety net" for those who cannot acquire traditional health care coverage because of their age, income, or disability status.

Prior to the global health emergency that began in 2020, each state would regularly monitor its Medicaid recipients to ensure that each person who was enrolled and receiving benefits continued to qualify for the program. If recipients were found to no longer qualify for Medicaid health coverage due to a change in their income, age, or disability status, they would be removed from the program.

However, in 2020 this review procedure was temporarily suspended by a federal mandate to ensure that no one would lose their health coverage during the global health emergency.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the option to "extend the public health emergency in 90-day increments." The next 90-day period is set to expire on April 16, 2022.

If this period is not extended for another three months, millions of people will be at risk of losing their current Medicaid health care coverage and benefits.

Once the Department of Health and Human Services decides that there is no longer a "public health emergency," each state will need to resume reviewing Medicaid recipients and removing those individuals who no longer qualify for the program.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, approximately one in four Americans are enrolled in a Medicaid program through their state.

The most likely reasons some individuals will be removed from the Medicaid program are if their income has increased beyond the threshold to qualify for benefits or if they fail to provide documentation that proves they continue to qualify.

If you are currently receiving Medicaid benefits, you'll want to keep a close watch on your mailbox as you may soon receive documents regarding your health care coverage status, or consider calling your local Medicaid office to find out if you need to provide any additional documentation to keep your current coverage.

As it stands, individual states will have a year to review their Medicaid recipients and determine each one's status. However, it is believed that millions of Americans may lose their Medicaid benefits through this process.

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