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Transitioning Out of a Public Health Emergency

The good news: COVID-19 numbers across the country have gotten low enough (daily reported cases are down 92%[1]) that the Federal government feels the Public Health Emergency status issued in March 2020 that enabled the government to weather the worst of the virus, is no longer needed. The bad news for the American healthcare system: Estimates show up to 18 million Americans will lose their health insurance coverage through Medicaid within 14 months[2].

The Medicaid line of business grew more than 17% from February 2020 to September 2022 from an increase in the unemployment rate as well as the Continuous Enrollment Provision as part of the Public Health Emergency. That growth may now tumble downward as states begin to comply with CMS and State guidelines for Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid chip enrollment, february 2020 september 2022[3]

While the current Federal guidelines give states up to 14 months to resume normal income eligibility for Medicaid enrollees, many states can choose to do so more rapidly. What this all means for health insurers is a renewed need for outreach to potential Medicaid members who are in danger of being disenrolled to communicate options for Marketplace coverage. This can become increasingly complex for states with federally facilitated Marketplaces that can oftentimes operate in siloes.  Others losing Medicaid may become eligible for Medicaid Premium Assistance in the Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI), but while employment levels nationally have returned to pre-pandemic levels, it can vary widely from state to state.

But amidst this looming unrest lies an opportunity for an often-broken healthcare system to work as it should. States are encouraged to partner with health plans, MCOs, community health centers, ancillary care providers, and other health care partners to reach out to enrollees to conduct their annual Medicaid renewal application. Each entity plays a role in ensuring the fewest number of Americans become uninsured. With HealthEdge’s family of products, modern health plans can operate Medicaid lines of business with maximum efficiency while staying compliant with state-specific frequently changing regulations. To learn more visit: