Thousands of Kids Lose Medicaid Health Care

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Thousands of children have lost Medicaid health coverage in the state of Kansas alone, new numbers reveal after the federal unwinding process went into effect.

The renewal process for Medicaid was temporarily suspended across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, but in the last year, requirements have come back, pushing many low-income adults off the government-provided health care.

The latest data shows that 47 percent of Kansans removed from Medicaid were children, and 24,673 were younger than 13. Altogether, 75,532 state residents lost their health care after the unwinding process started.

The soaring number of children now without coverage could have severe ramifications when it comes to both state and nationwide children’s health, experts say.

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EMS medics from the Houston Fire Department prepare a COVID-19-positive girl, age 2, for transport to a hospital on August 25, 2021, in Houston, Texas. In Kansas, a significant number of those removed during the…


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“Even short gaps in coverage cause children to miss vital prescriptions or not be able to see a doctor when they are sick,” Heather Braum, senior policy adviser with Kansas Action for Children, told the Kansas Reflector.

“These data indicate that thousands of Kansas children are likely going without the protection that health coverage provides, which will lead to poorer health in the short and long term while their families are exposed to high medical costs and medical debt. Health insurance coverage and access during childhood can change the trajectory of a child’s life, for better or worse.”

In many cases, the children might still be eligible under Medicaid guidelines, but their parents simply missed renewal deadlines.

Kansas and other states started the unwinding process in April 2023, after the federal continuous coverage rules ended.

Nationally, more than 20 million Americans were booted from Medicaid due to the new policies, according to health policy research firm KFF.

The majority, or 69 percent, were removed due to procedural reasons, like a missed deadline or incorrect address as opposed to no longer meeting qualifications.

“This is problematic, as some people who have lost coverage may still be eligible, but experiencing problems with accessing care until they can get re-enrolled,” a spokesperson for healthinsurance.org told Newsweek.

Chris Fong, CEO of Smile Insurance Group, said those on Medicaid should keep a close eye on their mail and act immediately if they receive notice of the Medicaid renewal process.

“The advice here is to also keep a close eye and carefully read any mail that comes in regarding their Medicaid,” Fong told Newsweek. “If the letters are confusing there are a lot of helpful resources at local community centers, churches, or even insurance agents like ourselves who can help.”

For those who find themselves without health care coverage and need to pay for emergency services or chronic treatments, the financial losses can be alarming.

“These soaring costs can derail even the most carefully managed budget,” Michael Ryan, finance expert and the founder of michaelryanmoney.com, told Newsweek. “Whether it’s prescriptions, doctor visits, or emergency care, losing your health coverage feels like a trapdoor just opened beneath your feet.”

If for some reason you no longer qualify for Medicaid even after reapplying for the benefits, Ryan urges families to explore coverage options in the Affordable Care Act marketplace and also see if they qualify for a special enrollment period with an employer plan.

“I also encourage appealing any Medicaid renewal denials you believe were made in error,” Ryan said. “The unwinding process isn’t perfect. A recent federal report found thousands of eligible people were kicked off in certain states through admin mistakes or lack of proper outreach.”