With the so-called “Medicaid unwinding” process well underway in Maryland, there have been at least 100,435 Marylanders who have rolled-off of Medicaid coverage since May, according to new Department of Health data released in Mid-August.
That’s due to a change in federal policy which prohibited states from disenrolling people off of Medicaid, a federal health care plan aimed to assist low-income people, during the global health crisis.
But that ended this year, and Medicaid renewal is not automatic, leading to what health care advocates call the Medicaid unwinding period.
The state of Maryland is working through the redetermination of some 1.8 million Medicaid enrollees through a phased approach. The first round of renewals were due in April, and each month a new cohort of renewals are considered for reevaluation.
From April through July, almost 494,000 Marylanders were up for reevaluations, and at least 326,446 have retained Medicaid coverage in that time period.
Disenrollments began in May, and so far there have been a total of 100,435 people who have lost Medicaid coverage from May through July, about 1 in 5 people, according to the most recent data.
More than 66,000 people were disenrolled for procedural reasons like not completing paperwork. That’s about two-thirds of people who have been disenrolled in this time period.
That means there are potentially thousands of low-income Marylanders who still qualify for federal health care coverage, but no longer have access to it because they missed the renewal deadline.
The remaining 34,391 people disenrolled no longer qualified for Medicaid, either because they now make too much money for the low-income-focused program or they aged out and now may qualify for Medicare.
The pace of disenrollments could slow in the months to come. The August data has a disclaimer that says that the Department of Health “has prioritized those most likely to be ineligible for renewal in the first six months of unwinding, or through November 2023.”
“This includes people who have income overscale, people who have other coverage such as Medicare, or have aged out of their coverage group,” according to the disclaimer.
Those who fall off of Medicaid and still need health coverage are recommended to seek new coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace.
There were 148,289 people with a July enrollment due date. As of the August report, there were 14,698 redeterminations that were still being processed and had not yet been determined. Medicaid coverage was continued for 96,856 people in July.
But 37,066 people were disenrolled in July, with 24,326 people rolling off of Medicaid due to procedural reasons and not necessarily because they no longer qualified.
The Department of Health and health-focused non-profits have been warning about the Medicaid unwinding period, as some people may have enrolled in Medicaid for the first time during the pandemic and have never been through the annual renewal process.
The Department of Health launched the “Medicaid Check-in” campaign in an effort to remind residents to reenroll before they lose coverage.
In addition, the state’s Department of Health recently announced a series of federal waivers in order to make the administrative process more accessible and efficient to help people get through the redetermination period.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to correct the number of Marylanders enrolled in Medicaid.