80,000 Marylanders at risk of losing Medicaid eligibility

Annapolis, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials announced that Medicaid coverage will be extended this spring as the federal government reinstated the requirement that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic for the state to verify eligibility. We are preparing for the 80,000 residents who are disqualified. of the recipient.

Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said the state could end Medicaid coverage for people who are no longer eligible starting in May. Maryland is better positioned than many other states to have people continue Medicaid coverage or transition to other health plans, she added.

“We’re working on all these numbers right now, but we think it’s about 80,000,” Eberle told a group of lawmakers last month. The number we came up with is about 80,000 people, and that’s something that rolls off, and we need to make sure we cover those people. ”

Medicaid enrollment skyrocketed during the pandemic. This is partly because the federal government has banned states from removing people once enrolled from the program during a public health emergency.

The program provides health insurance to approximately 90 million children and adults, or one in four Americans.

Late last year, Congress told states that they could begin weeding out ineligible people in April. Millions of people are expected to lose their insurance because their income is too high to qualify for Medicare or because they have moved. Many people are expected to qualify for low-cost insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act private market or through their employers.

“During this COVID[pandemic]we had the highest number of people enrolled in Medicaid,” Eberle told the Maryland Senate Finance Committee. We don’t want to lose those people, so we work very closely with the health department.

The state of Maryland will contact consumers to confirm if they are eligible for Medicaid so that their coverage is renewed. Eberle said he will help them get on board. If they are over Medicaid age and eligible for Medicare, a replacement can help get them down the road.

The Maryland Department of Health partners with Maryland’s Medicaid-managed care agencies, the Office of Health Exchange, the Maryland Department of Social Services, and the Chesapeake Regional Information System for Patients.

“Communications campaigns include paid media, social media messaging and other advertising and digital campaigns, in addition to targeted outreach by MCO,” the health ministry said in an email.

Eberle said Maryland is better positioned than many states because of the health care exchange. Maryland has an integrated system between Medicaid and eligible health insurance plans, and the state has not stopped redetermination on eligibility, while other states have not done so for three years.

“We have been doing these re-determinations every month,” Eberle said. If you have a new email address or a new phone, please come back and update us.

Still, some are concerned about the sheer number of people that could be affected.

State Senator Clarence Lamb, a Howard County Democratic Rep. who is also a Johns Hopkins University physician, pointed out that there are a huge number of people who could suddenly lose their health insurance. He said he believes “the jury is out” on how the changes will be handled.

“We are very concerned. We have made a lot of progress during the pandemic,” Lamb said in a recent interview. I don’t want it to be the period when the population of the state is at its peak.”

Suzanne Schlattman, a consumer health advocate for Maryland, said she was impressed with the level of cooperation among state agencies to address this issue.

Schlattman, deputy head of development and community outreach for the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, said the biggest challenge is reaching those who enrolled in Medicaid for the first time during the pandemic. No need to update the information.

About 1.7 million people in Maryland have Medicaid, Schlattman said, the highest number she’s seen. In that context, 80,000 doesn’t seem that high, especially compared to what some other states are facing.

“Other states are looking at bigger shifts and bigger bottlenecks to getting admission,” Schlattmann said.