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10 Ways to Get Help if You Lose Medicaid in 2023

10 Ways to Get Help if You Lose Medicaid in 2023

Nearly 18 million people are expected to lose Medicaid in 2023 because the Public Health Emergency is ending. In this article, we will discuss who will be affected and what you can do to get free and low-cost health care if you lose those benefits this year.

What is Medicaid?

As you probably know, Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides free healthcare to low-income individuals and families. This program is authorized under federal law and available in all states.

Because it is administered by the states, each state has great flexibility in how they operate this program. Some states only offer minimum coverage to very few people, while others have expanded their Medicaid coverage to include all low income people who meet income and asset requirements.

Why will people lose Medicaid in 2023?

In March 2020, the government created something called the Continuous Enrollment Provision. This rule required states to maintain Medicaid coverage for most people throughout the entire COVID-19 emergency.

That meant that if you were enrolled in Medicaid when the rule took effect on March 18, 2020, then you could not be removed from that program until the end of the Public Health Emergency. If you became eligible for Medicaid after that date, your coverage was also protected. 

Basically, this rule meant that states didn’t have to recertify anyone during this period. Usually, you have to submit renewal paperwork and undergo recertification interviews every so often to maintain your coverage… but during the pandemic, nobody had to do any of that. States were told to keep everyone enrolled to make sure that everyone had the health coverage they needed.

That means that it has been years since people have had to prove they are still eligible for these benefits. With the passage of the Omnibus bill, the government ordered states to begin recertifying Medicaid applications in April 2023.

Over the next 14 months, every single person who is receiving Medicaid will have to undergo a review to make sure they are still eligible for that coverage. That’s 84 million recertifications that have to be processed. That’s an extraordinary workload for the agencies that are already overworked and understaffed. 

As a result of this review, approximately 18 million people are expected to lose their Medicaid coverage.

Who will lose Medicaid during this review?

If you still meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, then you should be able to continue receiving that coverage. However, you may need to complete a recertification paperwork and an interview to prove that you still meet the eligibility requirements. The best way to ensure that you continue receiving the coverage you qualify for is to make sure that your contact details and other information are up-to-date with the Medicaid office.

Anyone who does not meet the income or other requirements for Medicaid, or who cannot be reached by the Medicaid office, will be removed during this process.

Unfortunately, some people who are still eligible for Medicaid coverage may be removed by mistake. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has stated that some people will likely lose coverage because of confusion, difficulty reaching the Medicaid office, or struggles to gather the needed in paperwork in time.

The stakes are high: nearly 18 million people could lose Medicaid during the unwinding process, a recent study by the Urban Institute estimated. An earlier HHS study estimated that approximately 15 million people could lose Medicaid coverage.

Of those, nearly 7 million are projected to lose Medicaid coverage despite being eligible, due to procedural reasons caused by administrative barriers such as long wait times, multiple unnecessary requests for paperwork, and eligible people losing coverage at renewal and having to reapply (a process known as churn).

Farah Erzouki, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

If you are still eligible for Medicaid coverage, it is imperative that you stay up-to-date on your paperwork. Make sure the Medicaid office knows how to reach you for your recertification and make sure that your respond promptly to any paperwork requests.

There are free and low-cost health services that can help!

If you will lose Medicaid in 2023, don’t lose hope! I have spent more than 10 years researching low income assistance programs and I’ve found many free and low-cost health care services that can help you.

Direct Primary Care

Direct Primary Care is my favorite affordable health care solution. Doctors who offer a DPC model require a monthly fee in exchange for all your in-office medical care. There are no extra fees, no copays, no deductibles or anything like that. It’s basically a subscription for your medical care.

(The DPC) model is similar to a gym. For a low monthly fee, all primary, urgent, and preventative care (usually 30-60 minute appointments) done in office is at no additional expenses. There are no copays, no deductibles, and no hidden fees. Medicine should be transparent and relationship based.

Dr. Jenna Silakoski, owner of North Idaho DPC

There are around 2,000 Direct Primary Care providers around the United States right now. You can find them in 48 states and Washington DC. There’s a map of some of them on the DPC Frontier website.

CareUltima

Care Ultima is an affordable service that I use for my family. It’s another low-cost subscription program but instead of offering you in-office visits, Care Ultima provides 24/7 access to online providers through Teladoc.

I tried it myself last week and I was very impressed. It took me less than five minutes to connect with an online provider. The appointment lasted about three minutes and the provider sent the prescription to my local pharmacy right after the call. I had an antibiotic in my hand within the hour. I sent my husband to pick it up for me and I didn’t even have to leave home. It was easily the best medical experience I have ever had in my life. 

For one flat rate, Care Ultima will offer this coverage to every member of your household – you, your spouse and your dependents. In addition to access to Teladoc, the subscription also includes prescription discounts, access to health advocates, and additional services.

I’ve had the honor of working with this company as they designed a custom package exclusively for the Low Income Relief audience. They’ve set an affordable monthly rate and included some amazing options. To get that special plan, you’ll need to sign up using the affiliate link above.

CHIP

Even if you lose Medicaid in 2023, the children in your household may still be eligible for coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. This program provides low-cost health insurance for children when their households earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to afford other health care solutions.

If you are losing Medicaid as a household but have children in your care, look into CHIP. It could help your children, even if it doesn’t cover the adults in your household.

Community Health Centers

Community health centers are nonprofits that offer free and low-cost services to low income patients. Most of these centers offer sliding fee scales, so that the amount you pay depends on your income. If your income is too low, you often don’t have to pay at all.

You can find your local Community Health Center by calling your local health department or by visiting the search tool provided by the Health Resources & Services Administration.

Free Clinics

These volunteer-run clinics provide free and low-cost health care services to uninsured and low income patients. This is the most affordable option for people who will lose Medicaid in 2023, but it’s important to understand that these clinics are often very overwhelmed with patients and it can be hard to get an appointment. 

I recently reported on the Doctors Volunteer Clinic in St. George, Utah, in one of our recent live YouTube updates. This all-volunteer clinic is 100% funded by grants and private donations. They have over 35 doctors and they provide dental, primary care, specialty care and mental health services to eligible patients. Clearly, some volunteer free clinics are actually very robust and comprehensive.

I’ve been putting together a list of all the free clinics I’ve found around the United States.

Prescription Assistance

You may be able to get help with your prescription costs from local Churches and charities. There are many that provide assistance with medications.

Some counties also have a General Assistance Fund or Welfare Fund that can assist with medications. You can usually call 211 to find those resources in your area. 

You can also use a service like GoodRx to save money on your medications. Often, the price will be lower than what you would pay with insurance.

Hospitals

This should be a resource of last resort as hospital bills can be insanely expensive even if you receive financial assistance.

However, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 requires hospitals to provide emergency care to anyone who comes into the emergency room regardless of their ability to pay. Hospitals that are registered as nonprofits must also provide financial assistance to low income patients, although there are no federal regulations about what the criteria must be or how much assistance must be offered. 

Medicare

If you’re facing the loss of your Medicaid coverage and you’re affected by a disability, you may want to consider applying for Social Security Disability Benefits so that you can also get Medicare coverage.

I know the process is daunting and can be very overwhelming, but our friends at Atticus make it easier. They have a two-minute quiz that can help you determine if you are eligible and they can even help you fight for the benefits that you are entitled to. If you’d like to get started, visit our affiliate link.

Veterans & Dependents

Most disability benefit programs that I’ve found include some sort of healthcare component. This is also true for veterans, who can get free or low-cost health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs depending on their level of disability.

Also, veterans who are rated 100% by the VA, who receive Individual Unemployability benefits, or who participate in the Family Caregiver program can get CHAMPVA health care for their dependents. CHAMPVA is actually very good coverage – in my experience, the dependents of veterans get better healthcare than the veterans themselves.

Summary

Although millions of people will likely lose Medicaid in 2023 due to the end of the Continuous Enrollment Provision, there are still many free and low-cost health care services that can help. These alternate health care solutions include Direct Primary Care, CareUltima’s custom Low Income Relief package, CHIP, Community Health Centers, Free Clinics, charity care at local hospitals, and special coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and their dependents.

If you find yourself affected and without health care benefits, one of the services on this list should be able to help you connect with doctors, afford your medications, and keep taking care of yourself without breaking your budget.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.