At least 2 million children have lost health insurance coverage since the end of a pandemic policy that guaranteed Medicaid coverage during the emergency, according to a new report.
Through November 8, a total of about 10.1 million Americans have been disenrolled from Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans, according to to researchers at the Georgetown Center for Children and Families and KFF, a health policy group. About 18.4 million people have had their Medicaid coverage renewed, it found.
The 2 million children who lost coverage represent 21 states breaking out enrollment changes by age — and that’s likely an undercount because data is still coming in, said Joan Alker, executive director and research professor at Georgetown, said Joan Alker, executive director and research professor at Georgetown.
States in Aprilfrom Medicaid rolls after the expiration of a pandemic provision that had suspended procedures to remove people from the program, such as if they made too much money to qualify. But experts have warned that many eligible people are at risk of being booted, including millions of children, because of issues such as paperwork problems or if their families have moved in the past few years.
About 3 out of 4 of the children who have lost Medicaid are eligible for the program, Alker told CBS MoneyWatch.
“Governors who don’t pay attention to this process are dumping a lot of people out of Medicaid,” said Alker, who describes the enrollment problems as particularly acute in Florida and Texas. “There is no reason in the United States for children to be uninsured.”
The disenrollment of millions of children and their families could prove a massive disruption to the social safety net, removing health care for many of the nation’s neediest families, experts said.
As states and advocates prepared to wind down the policy, coverage losses are growing “even among people who are still eligible,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Tuesday in a update.
About 42 million children — more than half of all children in the country — are covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the American Pediatric Association. “Ensuring that children do not inappropriately lose their health care benefits is critical to supporting their health and well-being,” the group have said.
The loss of health coverage for low-income children and their families comes as more children fell into poverty in 2022. The Child Poverty Rateas government-funded pandemic relief dried up, including the end of the Extended Child Tax Credit, and as parents’ incomes fell.