Over 300,000 Patients Left Without Insurance

(BrightPress.org) – Wisconsin’s recent resumption of Medicaid eligibility checks has left over 360,000 residents without coverage. Each year, the federal government mandates states to check the eligibility of Medicaid recipients. However, due to the pandemic, this requirement was temporarily suspended to ensure people retained their coverage. In Wisconsin, verification activities restarted in June 2023.

As of this month, every Wisconsin Medicaid recipient was expected to have completed their first renewal application since the process restarted. The outcome thus far shows that approximately 30 percent of those who needed to renew were removed from the program. Among that group, around 37 percent did not meet the income or health criteria anymore.

Many failed to reapply or update their information, resulting in abrupt coverage cuts. Those affected face high out-of-pocket expenses; for instance, one Wisconsinite saw what was formerly a $6 prescription skyrocket to $1,000.

During the unwinding process, Wisconsin’s Medicaid enrollment has decreased by 18 percent, making it the 13th largest percentage decline among states.

The sudden loss of healthcare has disrupted the tightest budgets. Anything from prescriptions to routine hospital visits is like falling into a financial sinkhole.

The unwinding affects many states, like New York, Texas, and California. These states saw millions disenrolled from Medicaid. Nationally, about 19.6 million enrollees lost coverage, mostly due to procedural errors like missed deadlines.

Many recipients, unaware of the changes, only discover their loss when seeking medical care.

Navigating this upheaval can lead to exploring alternative coverage, such as subsidized plans on the federal marketplace. These plans are specifically tailored for low-income families and individuals. It is important to verify eligibility before seeking new options, as many who lost coverage remain eligible.

There is also a warning of rising insurance scams targeting those navigating Medicaid changes. Verification of brokers’ legitimacy and reporting suspicious activities to state authorities is of utmost importance.

In 2023, Wisconsin’s budget committee turned down a proposal from Governor Tony Evers to raise the income limit for Medicaid. Nine other states have also declined federal incentives to broaden access to Medicaid.

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