La. soon resuming Medicaid disenrollments, returning to pre-pandemic rules

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:24 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Nearly two million people in Louisiana rely on Medicaid for health coverage and at the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The federal-state program played a vital part in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the start of the pandemic, Congress gave the state more money for Medicaid but, in return, no one could get kicked off,” said Jan Moller, director of Louisiana Budget Project.

This means for the past three years, no one has had their eligibility determined, allowing people with low incomes or disabilities to have stable, secure healthcare coverage during the public health emergency.

But starting April 1, the state can resume disenrollments, transitioning back to pre-pandemic rules.

“The department will check to see if everyone is still eligible. Of course, you have to have low or moderate income,” added Moller.

Louisiana has the lowest-ever uninsured rate, lower than the country as a whole. Prior to the pandemic, one in three Louisianans received coverage through the program.

During COVID-19, enrollment grew and now covers more than 40% of people in the state.

“This is because Medicaid picked up the slack during the pandemic. People who lost their jobs could still get coverage and people who treated them could still get paid,” explained Moller.

Most enrollees who will no longer be eligible for Medicaid will be eligible for low-cost insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

“Congress made Marketplace much more effective, so people who make a little too much money can get cost-effective plans throughout Marketplace,” continued Moller.

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