RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia expects up to 300,000 people to lose their Medicaid coverage over the next year.
State agencies were required to keep people on Medicaid, even enrollees no longer eligible for the federal-state health insurance program for the elderly, disabled and people with low incomes, in exchange for more federal funding during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
But those protections — along with the public health emergency — have come to an end, requiring Virginia and other states to return to their normal enrollment process.
Virginia is reviewing members’ coverage to determine who is eligible for Medicaid and plans to send letters to those who don’t need to do anything to re-enroll and send forms to others who need to provide more information to renew their benefits.
“We anticipate that roughly 14%, or up to 300,000, members will no longer be eligible to continue receiving Medicaid coverage and will receive a referral to the Federal Marketplace to transition to other health coverage if eligible,” Rebecca Dooley, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, told 8News.
The commonwealth also expects 4% — roughly 88,000 of the 2.2 million Virginians with Medicaid — to lose their coverage and then re-enroll within one to six months, also known as churn.
Virginians won’t lose their coverage before April 30, according to the state Department of Medical Assistance Services. Dooley said the loss and churn rates are over the 12-month unwinding period, not all at once.
“Virginia Medicaid has been working with stakeholders and providers for over a year to prepare for the return to normal enrollment,” she told 8News.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 5.3 million to 14.2 million Medicaid enrollees could lose coverage.
Dooley said the loss and churn rates are over the 12-month unwinding period, not all at once. “Virginia Medicaid has been working with stakeholders and providers for over a year to prepare for the return to normal enrollment,” she told 8News.
Virginians may lose coverage for a variety of reasons, Dooley said, including getting a new job with different pay, gaining insurance through an employer or changes in household sizes. Dooley said people could lose coverage if they don’t return their renewal form – one of the many causes of churn.
Dooley said Virginia is encouraging all households on Medicaid to update their contact information online — or by calling Cover Virginia at 1-855-242-8282 — “and to keep an eye out for information from us in the mail and respond to anything sent to them as quickly as possible so that we can review and determine their ongoing coverage.”
Virginians who lose their Medicaid coverage could get help with insurance through HealthCare.gov., the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services said. A project from the Virginia Poverty Law Center — ENROLL Virginia! – aims to help Virginians enroll for health insurance.