States were given the green light to begin Medicaid redeterminations in early April, yet many enrollees are still unaware of the process, according to a new survey.
KFF analysts polled a representative sample of 3,605 people with a range of insurance types earlier this year and found that 65% of Medicaid members are unsure whether states can remove people from the program if they no longer meet eligibility requirements. In addition, 7% incorrectly said states are not able to disenroll members who fail to meet the eligibility requirements.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said they are aware that states can now remove people from the program thanks to the restarted eligibility determinations.
“As states resume disenrollments following the end of the Medicaid continuous enrollment provision, many Medicaid enrollees have been unaware of and may not be prepared for the coming changes,” the researchers wrote.
The survey found that older adults were more likely to be unaware of the eligibility determinations, with 3 in 4 over age 65 saying they were unsure whether states could begin to disenroll people. Seventy-two percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 also said they were unsure, according to the survey.
Nearly half (47%) of the surveyed Medicaid enrollees said they have not been through the renewal process before. A majority of those over 65 (68%) said this, as did 53% of those between the ages of 18 and 29.
Before eligibility determinations were paused during the pandemic, they were held annually, and it was common for people to lose coverage even though they were eligible because of administrative barriers in the renewal process, the researchers said.
“Having past experience with actively renewing Medicaid coverage can help enrollees prepare for what to expect when their eligibility is redetermined in the coming months and improve their ability to navigate and complete the renewal process,” they wrote.
A major concern for state regulators as well as Medicaid managed care plans as eligibility determinations get underway is actually getting in contact with members who may be disenrolled, as their contact information may not be up to date. The KFF survey found that a third of enrollees had not submitted updated contact details to their state Medicaid program in the past year.
This was by far the most common among older adults, according to the report. Nearly half (48%) of those 65 and older said they had not updated their contact information in the past year. By comparison, 33% of those aged 18 to 29, 30% of people aged 30 to 49 and 31% of those between 50 and 64 said they updated contact details in the past year.
In addition, the survey found that most people had not had a change in income or other update in their life that would make them ineligible for coverage, so they should be able to maintain coverage should the administrative requirements be met.
The researchers recommend tapping into key partners, like managed care plans and community organizations, to assist people in navigating their options during the eligibility determination period.
“In addition, connecting people on Medicaid with Navigators and other organizations who can assist them with the renewal process can help increase the number of people who complete their renewals and retain coverage if they remain eligible or know where to look for and enroll in other coverage if they are determined to no longer be eligible,” the researchers wrote.