47,000 Illinois residents have lost Medicaid benefits

by Mike Moran
Illinois News Connection

Medicaid re-determination will happen on a rolling basis through mid-2024, meaning not everyone will lose eligibility at once.
CHICAGO - Millions of Medicaid recipients are losing coverage as the program's pandemic-era Continuous Enrollment Provision unwinds. In Illinois, the number could reach close to three-quarters of a million, even if many are still eligible for benefits.

In just the first month since states started to whittle down their Medicaid rolls, more than 47,000 people in Illinois have lost coverage. They may still qualify, but simply failed to re-enroll in time to avoid a coverage lapse or didn't respond to the government's request for information.

Marcus Robinson, UnitedHealthcare's president of markets for the indivicual and family plan business, said suddenly losing coverage can be frightening, but it also disrupts the doctor-patient relationship.

"And keeping access to that relationship for your overall well-being is really important," he said. "Regular doctor's visits for yourself or your family, of course - you can continue to obtain your preventive care, critical screenings."

Robinson said disrupting that relationship means at-risk patients could fail to manage chronic conditions or miss emerging illnesses. He added that UnitedHealthCare has online tools to help people determine if they are still Medicaid-eligible, and offers options if they're not.

People were not required to prove Medicaid eligibility during the pandemic, but now that is changing. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said to avoid a "coverage cliff," Medicaid re-determination will happen on a rolling basis through mid-2024, meaning not everyone will lose eligibility at once. But UnitedHealthCare's Robinson said people who do lose coverage can still access health insurance, because losing Medicaid allows them coverage options outside of a normal enrollment period.

"It's determined you are not longer eligible for Medicaid - well, that's a loss of coverage," he said, "and that allows you a qualifying event to enroll in the individual exchange marketplace. "

The individual exchange marketplace is online at healthcare.gov.

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