Medicaid Disenrollment Surpasses 10 Million People

The unwinding of the Medicaid continuous enrollment provision has led to the disenrollment of over 10 million people – and that number could double.

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Over the past six months, more than 10 million people have been disenrolled from Medicaid as a result of the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement, according to newly released data.

Newly released data from KFF’s Medicaid Enrollment and Unwinding Tracker shows that over 10 million people have been disenrolled from Medicaid since states began re-determining eligibility following the expiration of a federal requirement for continuous coverage during the COVID-19 public health emergency on March 31, 2023.

Medicaid disenrollments were halted from March 2020 to March 2023 to help preserve coverage for millions of Americans during the pandemic. As a result, states had to provide continuous coverage in order to receive enhanced federal funding. However, that provision was terminated on March 31, so states could resume disenrollments on April 1.

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Across the states with available data, 71% of disenrolled people had their coverage terminated for procedural reasons, which is typically because they had outdated contact information or because they missed the deadline on their renewal packets, KFF said. And while data are limited, children accounted for about four in 10 (39%) Medicaid disenrollments in the 20 states that report with age breakouts.

High procedural disenrollment rates are concerning because many eligible Medicaid recipients will lose coverage as a result of paperwork issues, so some states have temporarily halted terminations to address renewal process problems, KFF said.

The high disenrollment rates were expected but also caught the attention of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

On August 30, the CMS sent a letter to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., warning them about using automatic renewal systems, as they may result in eligible individuals being improperly disenrolled. The most common issue was children being disenrolled after the systems determined the eligibility of the family as a whole – this is incorrect since eligibility levels for children are generally higher than those for adults.

The CMS gave states until September 13 to review their systems, fix any issues, and reinstate coverage for anyone that was affected by the errors.

The Medicaid disenrollment problem may worsen

While 10 million disenrollments may be cause for concern, KFF estimates that this number could more than double to over 24 million during the unwinding period, including over 17 million adults and over 7 million children.

If you’ve been disenrolled from Medicaid or think you may be disenrolled during the unwinding, contact your state’s Medicaid agency for more information. If you were disenrolled for a procedural reason, you may be able to reinstate your coverage. 

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.