Have Diabetes and Medicaid Coverage? It’s Time to Renew Your Enrollment
By Natalie Sainz
An estimated 15 million people may soon lose Medicaid coverage as state officials begin the process of reviewing eligibility for the program. If you’re on Medicaid and have diabetes, make sure you are prepared to renew your coverage.
As pandemic protections expire this year, state officials around the country have begun reviewing the eligibility of every Medicaid recipient. The federal government has estimated that as many as 15 million people who no longer qualify could soon lose coverage.
Medicaid is the service that provides health coverage for eligible people who have low-incomes, which is a population that is more likely to have diabetes. Every state has its own version of Medicaid and therefore has its own coverage policies for insulin, continuous glucose monitors, and other essential diabetes medication and supplies. Medicaid has helped people with diabetes gain access to costly medications. To gain coverage through Medicaid, you have to meet certain eligibility requirements that are largely based on income.
States usually redetermine eligibility each year, but this annual review was paused due to the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in 2020. In the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the federal government offered additional funding if states agreed that Medicaid recipients could keep their health coverage during the pandemic. In part because of that policy, the US’s uninsured rate reached a record low in 2022.
States began removing people from Medicaid on April 1, after Congress passed the federal spending bill in December that allowed them to do so. States have 14 months starting in April to determine the eligibility of every Medicaid recipient. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has identified when states will start terminating coverage here.
Some people will no longer qualify for Medicaid because they make more money now than they did during the pandemic. But health policy experts have expressed concern that people may be kicked off coverage because they aren’t aware or don’t have the time or resources to complete the renewal process. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that this number could be as many as 6.8 million people.
What you can do to prepare:
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date with your state Medicaid office. You’ll want to make sure that you receive any notices, renewal forms and other documentation from Medicaid to update your eligibility. Locate the phone number of your state’s Medicaid office to call and confirm your contact information.
Watch for any communications from your state Medicaid office – this could be mail, phone calls, or emails. While some states have already begun the process, it may take several months for you to receive notice about your renewal.
Every state’s requirements vary, but they will generally want to verify your income, address, and number of dependents. People will typically be given 30 days to respond. Be prepared to fill out paperwork.
Look for a directory of organizations to help you navigate the renewal: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/
If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, you may still be eligible for other forms of health insurance. The Department of Health and Human Services has also set up a special enrollment period at healthcare.gov to help people transition to Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance if they lose Medicaid.