WA wonders how to handle upcoming Medicaid opt-outs – State of Reform
Following a federal declaration of emergency in March 2020, millions of Americans signed up for Medicaid due to job loss and continued coverage requirements. Up to 15 million of those registrants nationwide are expected to lose coverage when the emergency declaration ends, and in Washington state that number could number in the hundreds of thousands.
Get the latest information on state-specific policies for the healthcare industry delivered to your inbox.
A recent study published by the Urban Institute in September provided these national figures. In Washington state, 300,000 people have signed up for Medicaid programs since March 2020, said Amy Blondin, director of communications for the Washington State Health Care Authority, which administers Medicaid programs.
The public health emergency, and by extension Medicaid coverage, has been extended until at least January 16, 2022. Blondin said that as they prepare to handle unsubscribes, they focus on making the process simple for clients, keeping fairness in mind, minimizing legal risk and being aware of the workload. . The HCA has also started organizing listening sessions with stakeholders and community partners to determine the best way to make the transition.
Of the 300,000 Medicaid registrants who have registered since March 2020 in Washington state, Blondin said she did not know how many were at risk of being deregistered.
Senator Annette Cleveland, chair of the Senate health and long-term care committee, said she expects to hear from the Biden administration by Nov. 18 on whether the public health crisis will be prolonged.
“We don’t yet know how many people this might affect,” Cleveland said. “What we do know is that the Biden administration has assured our state that we will receive 60 days’ notice before the end of the public health crisis.”
The Urban Institute study found that nationwide, a third of adults who are expected to lose Medicaid coverage next year would be eligible for premium tax credits if tax credits improved. of the American Rescue Plan Act were made permanent.
Cleveland said the state is exploring ways to make the transition seamless for people who will be unenrolled, including potentially renewing coverage for a year or providing people with sufficient notice.
Marcia Stedman, president of Healthcare For All Washington, said her organization is involved at the political level to help prevent mass unsubscribes.
These policies include advocacy for the state to support the new Universal Health Care Commission which is being set up in Washington. Governor Jay Inslee has yet to nominate members to the commission.
Stedman said she hopes the commission will put in place a universal health care plan in a unified form of funding.
“This would eliminate the churn and dislocation of patients from their trusted health care providers,” Stedman said.
Cleveland said she looked forward to the commission being set up, and also noted the recent approval public option.
“I feel like we are working at all levels to ensure that we as a state continue to make progress towards universal health coverage,” while preparing in the short term to respond to the public health crisis, Cleveland said.