The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday, March 1, that Medicaid users across the state may lose their healthcare coverage or see a reduction in benefits.
The recertification process, called "Medicaid continuous coverage unwinding," will begin on April 1 due to changes at the federal level.
Since March 2020, states have been required to maintain enrollment of almost all Medicaid users because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, even if their eligibility status changed. However, this continuous coverage requirement will end on March 31.
“As recertifications take place over the next 12 months, up to 300,000 North Carolinians may lose full health care coverage or see a reduction in benefits,” NCDHHS said in a press release.
Users will be notified by mail, email or other forms of communication if their coverage is changing. N.C. Medicaid will also hold webinars and post updates on social media, among other measures, to increase awareness.
Cassidy Estes-Rogers, an attorney and the program director in family support and health care at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, said many families could lose coverage because they are not updating their personal information with the Medicaid system.
“The people who are most likely to lose are beneficiaries who may be still eligible but are terminated,” Estes-Rogers said.
She said many of these people could remain eligible if they kept their information about changes in address and other personal information up-to-date with their local social services office.
Despite this, Estes-Rogers said some North Carolina residents will still lose Medicaid coverage because they are no longer eligible. This includes people who have turned 19 since the COVID-19 health emergency began or people who have returned to work since being previously unemployed.