Medicaid Reinstated for Nearly 500,000 Children and Families: CMS

By   |  September 22, 2023

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter  |  Copyright © 2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

FRIDAY, Sept. 22, 2023 (HealthDay News) – About 500,000 children and families have had their Medicaid reinstated after some states erroneously purged them because of a systems issue, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) said Thursday.

The agency had first expressed concerns about the issue last month, telling states to evaluate each member of the household individually when reviewing Medicaid qualifications following a three-year pause on purging rolls during the pandemic. Some of the states had been reviewing entire families as a unit, but children can receive coverage at higher household income thresholds than adults can.

“Nearly half a million individuals, including children, will have their coverage reinstated, and many more will be protected going forward,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a CMS news release. “We will continue to work with states for as long as needed to help prevent anyone eligible for Medicaid or CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Plan] coverage from being disenrolled.”

The problem happened in 29 states and Washington, D.C. All were asked to pause the process of disenrolling people and to reinstate those who had been removed erroneously.

"Medicaid and CHIP are essential for millions of people and families across the country,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in the news release. “Addressing this issue with auto-renewals is a critical step to help eligible people keep their Medicaid and CHIP coverage during the renewals process, especially children. CMS will keep doing everything in our power to help people have the health coverage they need and deserve.”

States are currently reviewing the eligibility of 87 million people covered by Medicaid. They are also reviewing several million children who are in the CHIP program, CNN reported.

At least 7.2 million people, including at least 1.4 million children, have been disenrolled so far, according to KFF. However, a majority were dropped for “procedural reasons,” such as not completing a renewal form, which may have happened because it was sent to an incorrect address.

It’s not clear whether the reinstatements will stick, because some may again be disenrolled if they still don't qualify, CNN reported. Some states will begin reviewing Medicaid qualifications again in October, while others will be later.

More information

The nonprofit KFF has more on Medicaid and a coverage gap.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, news release, Sept. 21, 2023; CNN