COVID-19 is having adverse effects on Medicaid: What Should States Do?

COVID-19 is having adverse effects on Medicaid. Whether it is due to the layoffs from jobs, or the need for more care during these times, new challenges both short term and long term are coming to state Medicaid programs. Consulting firm Avalere has predicted how COVID-19 will further complicate the Medicaid state programs.

Medicaid Facing Large Amount of New Enrollees

COVID-19 is having adverse effects on Medicaid as the need for expansion is being seen. Medicaid enrollments have surged as states face new challenges regarding the eligibility of the program, benefits, annual budget, and trajectory of ongoing programs and initiatives. One of the anticipations marked by Avalere to expect is the economic disruption which has caused the need for growth. With millions losing employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, many still remain uninsured, and with the new assistance will turn to Medicaid. Some might be forced to wait until their unemployment compensation ends for them to qualify for Medicaid due to income being a factor in determining eligibility.

States Need Help

States need help due to the financial strain rising through Medicaid enrollment. The cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment alongside the lower tax revenues due to economic shutdowns have left state budgets in shambles. Some states have even gone as far as to open up and risk the spread of the virus in order to soften the blow. If this weren’t bad enough many of the state legislatures have suspended sessions earlier than scheduled, causing some states to not finish their legislative sessions, finalized state-wide budgets, and enact timely healthcare policies and critical funding measures.

Medicaid Expansion For States

States that have not used the Affordable Care Act Medicaid eligibility expansion have considered expanding during the duration of the emergency or expanding coverage for COVID-19-related services to uninsured individuals. States that have not expanded are under pressure from stakeholders to consider expansion as a long term policy. This will be a large decision that states will have to consider the impacts financially and economically of covering a much larger group.

How do you think state Medicaid programs will decide to handle the expansion of Medicaid? Comment below your thoughts now!


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