Our partners at Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) just released a new report on children’s health insurance coverage during the pandemic.
About half of the nation’s children–40 million children–are now covered by Medicaid or CHIP. Between February 2020 and June 2021, children’s enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP has increased by 11 percent, due to job losses during the pandemic as well as the 2020 provision that requires states to keep children and adults continuously covered by Medicaid during the COVID-related public health emergency.
This Medicaid continuous coverage requirement brought protection and peace of mind to many families but these protections will soon be removed despite the fact children are still at risk. When the Medicaid continuous coverage protection expires, states will have to recheck eligibility for everyone enrolled in Medicaid and the CCF report estimates that at least 6.7 million children are likely to lose their Medicaid coverage and are at considerable risk for becoming uninsured. This disenrollment will especially put Black and Latino families at risk of losing coverage–as COVID has exacerbated long-standing health inequities for Black and Latino families who were at greater risk of coverage gaps even before the pandemic.
Any gaps in coverage are harmful for children and their families. Children missing health coverage, even for short periods, can mean missed doctor’s visits, loss of primary care that can prevent more serious health concerns, and the risk of unexpected medical bills in the event a child gets sick or injured.
States must act to ensure children don’t lose coverage. Find CCF’s full report, with strategies states can use to protect kids from being erroneously disenrolled, here.