Over 300,000 People Dropped from State Health Plan

(LibertySons.org) – Huge numbers of people who temporarily became eligible for Medicaid during the pandemic are now being dropped by the scheme. Millions of people no longer qualify, and Medicaid is “unwinding” the special measures brought in during 2020. Wisconsin is one state that’s been hit hard by the change.

Wisconsin Sees Massive Medicaid Drop

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has found that around 360,000 people in the state have dropped out of its Medicaid plan. Wisconsin started unwinding from the pandemic-era exemptions last June. At that point, the state’s healthcare plans had around 1.68 million members. Since then, officials have been screening members for eligibility –- and that’s helped drive a big fall in numbers.

Many of the people who’ve dropped out of Wisconsin Medicaid simply missed renewal deadlines, or forgot to update the address they had filed and were removed from the plan when officials couldn’t contact them. Nationally, 69% of the 19.6 million people dropped from Medicaid fall into one of these categories.

However, many more have been dropped because they don’t qualify now that the rules have gone back to normal. Usually, Medicaid recipients have to renew their coverage every year and show that they’re still eligible for the scheme, usually because they have a low income. During the pandemic, that requirement was dropped, and people automatically stayed enrolled—even if they weren’t eligible anymore.

Because people weren’t renewing, many errors likely crept into the system. Enrollees could have moved, left the state, or even died, but they automatically stayed signed up. Now, staff are plowing through a four-year backlog of renewals, and they’re uncovering many of those issues. This goes a long way to explaining why almost a quarter of Wisconsin’s Medicaid recipients have now been dropped.

Unfortunately, for the people it affects, the loss of cover can be a major blow. One resident said the cost of their medication has just jumped from $6 to $1,000. Even worse, many people who have been dropped might actually still be eligible. Smile Insurance CEO Chris Fong says anyone who finds out they’ve lost their Medicaid coverage should immediately contact their state agency to ask why –- and reapply if they’re still eligible for it.

This isn’t the first time Wisconsin’s Medicaid plan has seen a big fall. In 2012 the state started charging a premium of 3% of household income on adult residents signed up for the program. In three months nearly a quarter of them had been dropped for non-payment.

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