First batch of Georgians lose Medicaid, PeachCare for Kids during 'unwinding'
The Georgia Department of Community Health reports at least 1,581 Georgians on Medicaid are losing their health insurance during the so-called Medicaid unwinding that is now underway across the country.
Almost 3 million people in Georgia use Medicaid, including children with PeachCare for Kids.
For months, health advocates have sounded the alarm that many who remain eligible for coverage could be cut off for avoidable problems, such as missing a renewal notification, lacking transportation or home internet.
“It means parents saddled with crushing medical debt when their kid has an asthma attack and they leave the E.R. with a bill that they can’t pay. It means teenagers struggling with suicidal ideation not being able to get access to the treatment they need,” said Georgia Budget and Policy Institute analyst Leah Chan.
“And it potentially means more hospital closures devastating the local economies in rural Georgia,” she said.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates approximately 8.2 million Medicaid recipients would be cut off because they are no longer eligible, and approximately seven million would lose coverage despite still being eligible.
The federal government has given states until next June to recertify all Medicaid recipients following this spring’s end of the official national COVID-19 public health emergency period.
Georgia is processing Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids recertifications in batches over the next year.
The latest state Department of Community Health data covers May, showing that 12,526 people were due for renewals during the month.
Data shows that out of those people, 1,581 were terminated for failing to respond to notifications or not providing requested information.
The state said it has yet to make a determination about 4,470 applications. Any Georgians found ineligible for continued coverage has a right to appeal.
And state unwinding workers are expected to connect them to other possible coverage options, including the federal health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov, where they could also qualify for federal insurance plan subsidies.
In the month of May, state numbers show 78 people found ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP transferred to the Marketplace.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget includes funding to support state agencies during the Medicaid unwinding process. An administration spokesperson said all Medicaid recipients will be notified by mail or email before their redetermination date.
Meanwhile, officials urge anyone with Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids to update their contact information in the Gateway system.