The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) just released the latest edition of its Law & Policy Technical Assistance Podcast, where we discuss the upcoming expiration of Medicaid continuous eligibility rules, which were put in place in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and which have protected people enrolled in Medicaid from termination or from having to update their eligibility since March 2020. In December 2022, Congress passed legislation ending the COVID-19 Medicaid continuous eligibility rules this spring, with coverage terminations scheduled to begin nationwide on April 1, 2023. Although estimates vary, experts anticipate that as many as 18 million people could lose their Medicaid benefits for reasons related to changing eligibility or challenges navigating the renewal process.
To highlight and explore many of the issues at stake related to the unwinding of Medicaid continuous eligibility, and how providers serving people with low-income and/or chronic illness can be more prepared, we spoke to two experts in the health access advocacy community:
- Lucy Dagneau is the Senior Director of State and Local Campaigns at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Lucy leads ASC CAN’s Medicaid portfolio for state and local campaigns. Lucy has done extensive advocacy work related to Medicaid, especially in pushing states to adopt Medicaid expansion.
- Erin Loubier is the Senior Director for Health and Legal Integration & Payment Innovation at Whitman-Walker Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Washington, DC. Erin has many years of experience in public benefits law, including working directly with patients, providers, and insurance navigators.
Our conversation covered topics such as groups that may be especially vulnerable to losing their coverage; how providers can work with patients who may experience coverage gaps; the impact of the unwinding on trends such as provider burnout and existing health disparities; and the importance of provider readiness across the care continuum for this significant legal change. Our speakers also offered ways that providers and other concerned individuals can help advocate for low-income people living with or at risk for chronic conditions, including by getting involved in state-level efforts to close the Medicaid coverage gap.