Federal omnibus bill sets end date for continuous Medicaid coverage

Hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers who had continuous health insurance coverage under Medicaid will begin to lose their benefits this spring under an omnibus spending bill passed by the Senate Thursday.

During the pandemic, anyone who qualified for Medicaid at any point would keep their coverage, even if their financial circumstances changed for the better. The federal government sent additional money to states to incentivize the continuous coverage, meaning no one lost their insurance during the national public health emergency.

But a federal bill would uncouple that provision from the emergency designation, ending the enhanced coverage in April, regardless of whether President Joe Biden ends it or not.

The number of Hoosiers utilizing the program is estimated to hit nearly 2.3 million in the spring, compared to 1.5 million before the pandemic. The Family and Social Services Administration said earlier this month they’ll need roughly a year to review each Medicaid recipient and redetermine their coverage but project that between 300,000-400,000 Hoosiers no longer qualify.

The $1.7 trillion spending deal must be passed to continue funding government activities through the rest of year, though negotiations are ongoing. The bill included $40 billion for natural disaster recovery, $45 billion for assistance to Ukraine and a bill clarifying how Congress certifies electoral votes for president in addition to ending continuous Medicaid coverage.

A group of 25 Republican governors, including Gov. Eric Holcomb, sent a letter to Biden earlier this week imploring him to end the emergency designation in April, citing their bloated Medicaid rolls.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, states have added 20 million individuals to the Medicaid rolls (an increase of 30%) and those numbers continue to climb … ,” the letter states. “We urge you to end the national emergency and the PHE in April and provide states notice of those intentions well in advance to allow us to adequately plan for the future.”

Hoosiers currently relying on continuous Medicaid coverage should update their information in the FSSA Benefits portal to aid in the redetermination process.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Niki Kelly for questions: info@indianacapitalchronicle.com. Follow Indiana Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

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