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How will Medicaid recipients be affected by the end of the Federal Public Health Emergency?

Grey Anthem insurance sign in the middle of a patch of grass and in front of several buildings
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Some Medicaid programs have put a hold on typical rules such as having updated paperwork and documentation during the Federal Public Health Emergency.

Under the Federal Public Health Emergency, some Medicaid programs including traditional Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Healthy In=diana plan have put a hold on typical rules such as having updated documentation.

As the emergency nears an end, recipients may find themselves ineligible for Medicaid when they do update paperwork.

Mark Fairchild, director of Policy and Communication at Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, said without a need for updated documentation, individuals with income or life changes have been able to remain on Medicaid when traditionally they would not.

“Since they're not doing those rechecks, people that got on the program during the Public Health Emergency basically been able to stay on unless they did something like move out of state or had another dramatic change to make them ineligible for a program in the state of Indiana,” he said.

Fairchild said the state estimates nearly half a million Hoosiers may need to make changes to avoid being phased out of coverage.

“The biggest thing that we really watch out for is where some people won't be eligible anymore," he said. "A lot of us had very tough times during the pandemic, some of us are still recovering from – that we certainly understand. But there's others that perhaps they no longer qualify by income, or some of the other things to qualify them for those different programs that we talked about.”

He said paperwork and documentation will soon be required to be accurate and up-to-date. If it’s not, some recipients may be ineligible for continued coverage.

Fairchild urged people to watch out for announcements regarding these changes and take necessary steps to keep coverage.

“The biggest thing you have to do is watch for correspondence coming from what's called FSSA, or the Family and Social Services Administration,” he said. “Watch closely for that, because there'll be information about what you might need to do to keep your coverage- things like updating your address, your income, your household size,” he said.

For those who will no longer be eligible for these programs, Fairchild said there are other options.

He recommended the healthcare.gov marketplace, where individuals can shop for different plans.

“You can shop for different private plan options for yourself, especially if you don't maybe have something offered through your employer,” he said. “And those will be heavily subsidized right now, which means for most Hoosiers, especially those that maybe are just past qualifying for the Healthy Indiana plan, they may be able to get a free plan on there.”

Fairchild emphasized individuals will not be automatically kicked off of their current coverage.

He said it will take the state over a year to catch up, leaving many people some time to transition to other plans.

This story came in response to a listener's question. If you have questions for our reporters, you can text us. Sign up for the Indiana Two-Way by texting "Indiana" to 73224.

Contact reporter Violet at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.