15 million people could lose coverage after public health emergency ends, report says

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A new report by the Urban Institute, funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, anticipates that 15 million people could be out of Medicaid coverage when the pandemic public health emergency ends.

Medicaid enrollment initially swelled as a result of early pandemic joblessness and continuous coverage requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, according to the Sept. 15 report.

With the public health emergency in place through the end of 2021, researchers estimated that Medicaid enrollment could grow to 17 million new members since the start of the pandemic. That would bring the total number of Medicaid beneficiaries under the age of 65 to 76.3 million.

Should the public health emergency conclude at the end of 2021 as anticipated, however, 9 million adults and 6 million children could lose coverage through 2022, according to the report.

The report highlighted possible ways to tamper disenrollment, such as making American Rescue Plan Act Marketplace premium tax credits permanent, which would assist nearly a third of adults at risk of losing coverage. 

Over half (57 percent) of children at risk of losing coverage would qualify for Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage. An additional 9 percent could be eligible for Marketplace coverage via tax credits.

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