Medicaid emerging as default insurer for unemployed due to COVID-19

Millions of Americans are grappling with unemployment as COVID-19 forces businesses to close. Many are turning to Medicaid as they lose employer-sponsored health coverage, according to Kaiser Health News.

The high unemployment numbers could put unprecedented strains on funding for Medicaid, state officials and policy experts told the publication. 

More than 6.6 million people signed up for unemployment benefits for the week ended March 28, up from 3.3 million the previous week. These record-setting numbers are likely to overwhelm Medicaid, as newly unemployed people seek coverage for themselves and their families. Utah alone reported a 46 percent increase in Medicaid applications in March 2020 compared to the year prior. Many states aren't equipped with the systems and resources to meet the demand.

"Medicaid is absolutely going to be in the eye of the storm here," Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, told KHN. "It is the backbone of our public health system, our public coverage system, and will see increased enrollment due to the economic conditions."

Read the full report here.

More articles on payers:
16 insurers waiving costs for COVID-19 treatment
Trump administration to use hospital stimulus funds to pay for uninsured COVID-19 treatment
Humana to expedite claim processing, suspend more prior authorization rules

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