The End of the COVID Public Health Emergency: Implications of Ending Medicaid Continuous Coverage

Prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid enrollment across all states increased by over 10 million from February 2020 through February 2021. A significant contributor to these gains in coverage is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act “continuous coverage” requirement, which limits the ability of states to disenroll individuals from Medicaid. Following the end of the federal public health emergency, states will no longer be subject to this requirement, which could potentially result in widespread disenrollment from Medicaid, jeopardizing health care coverage and access for millions of low-income individuals.

States have a clear imperative to prioritize health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency given that Black, Latino/a and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. Maintaining coverage is critical to ensuring access to care during the ongoing pandemic, including for deferred care for chronic conditions. In order to optimize coverage retention and access to health care at the end of the public health emergency, state and federal leaders need to be working now to employ a range of strategies that streamline and improve their redetermination processes.

In “The End of the COVID Public Health Emergency: Potential Health Equity Implications of Ending Medicaid Continuous Coverage,” a new expert perspective for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program, Manatt Health explains the urgent need for states to ensure that Medicaid-eligible individuals do not lose coverage at the end of the public health emergency. It also provides specific recommendations to ensure that coverage retention efforts include a focus on health equity.

To read the full expert perspective, click here.

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