Thousands across the D.C.area have lost Medicaid coverage in recent months, as pandemic protections that allowed people to stay enrolled without reapplying came to a close. Known as “Medicaid unwinding,” states are resuming annual Medicaid eligibility reviews, meaning many thousands more may lose their insurance over the next year.
Each month – depending on when they initially enrolled – a new crop of people will be prompted to renew their Medicaid or potentially lose coverage. In the coming months, patients, providers, and state agencies alike are faced with the massive undertaking of getting people who have lost coverage re-enrolled, and hopefully catching many more before they lose it in the first place.
“Everyone who has Medicaid across the country needs to undergo a redetermination, which currently is around 90 million people,” says Basim Khan, physician and CEO of Neighborhood Health in Northern Virginia. “Many of these people haven’t gone through a redetermination process before.”
Medicaid is a hybrid state and federal program providing health insurance to low-income residents. Eligibility varies depending on your status — whether you’re an adult, a child, pregnant, over/under 65 years old, blind, disabled, are part of a family, and more. Over 280,000 D.C. residents, 1.9 million Virginia residents, and 1.6 million Maryland residents were enrolled in the program in October of 2022, according to KFF Health News. Typically, recipients have to renew their status every year, a process that involves submitting eligibility paperwork to prove their residence, citizenship, income status, and more.