Millions could remain uninsured when Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expansion ends

By Alisha Wilson

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government declared a public health emergency and provided assistance ranging from utility companies to expanding health insurance. As a result, we saw the uninsured rate drop to about 8 percent. Unfortunately, beginning in April, the states will resume normal eligibility procedures as set out in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 through an account reassessment. There will be serious consequences as the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Affairs estimates that 6.8 million people will lose their insurance coverage.

The expansion of Medicaid was a major win in the discussion about free health care for all, as it ensured that children and other disadvantaged communities at least had access to affordable health care, “a fundamental right of every human being” as described in the World Health Organization Constitution. But when it was launched, the expansion plan was never meant to be permanent. As the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expiration date nears, it’s important to note who may be at risk. Historically, marginalized communities, including children, the elderly, people with disabilities, non-English speaking and low-income communities have all tended to fall through the cracks. People who fall into these categories will most likely be hit the hardest in April. Additionally, COVID-19 is still a concern for many Americans as we see people being diagnosed with COVID for a long time.

There is growing concern about the amount of staff required to process renewal files. Though the Biden administration is giving states a year to process residents, most won’t have that luxury when congressional funds are depleted after the public emergency ends. Additionally, most states have plans to mail renewal packages, which typically go to wrong addresses or are not returned.

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During his visit to the University of Tampa, President Biden expressed that “too many Americans lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling and wondering, ‘What will happen if I get sick,’ and that worry only gets bigger when.” the public emergency ends and millions lose healthcare.

Here’s what you need to know to make sure you don’t lose coverage if you still qualify, and other options if you don’t.

Pennsylvania’s plan for residents

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, there will be a renewal process and options will be made available for those who no longer meet eligibility requirements. Everyone has a different renewal date, so keep an eye out for your package in the mail. To counter predictions that Americans will abruptly lose their health insurance, individuals will be given renewal packages 90 days ahead of schedule to allow adequate time to complete. There are several ways you can complete your renewal package:

By Mail – Complete and return the forms by mailing them back in the envelope provided. Online – Complete your renewal online in COMPASS in person at any local county aid office

For more information and/or assistance, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services at:

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