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Changes to Medicaid law could put thousands of Hoosier kids at risk

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal law will take effect on April 1 ending the COVID-19 era protections that keep children and families continuously covered by Medicaid.

The protections were originally put in place in March 2020 through bipartisan legislation.

“We’ve seen a sharp decline in the state’s child uninsured rate and, unfortunately, we are worried that may be reversed and the uninsured rate may start to go up for children when this protection lifts,” Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, said.

More than 60% of Hoosier children get their healthcare from Medicaid since it is often hard for parents to find coverage for their children. In April, the state will review whether these children are still eligible for Medicaid.

“All of these children are going to have their coverage checked. How many lose coverage inappropriately depends on how good of a job the state does during this process,” Alker said.

Alker is concerned families won’t receive renewal letters in the mail because people may have moved over the past few years.

“It’s time now to make sure they are updating their contact information with the Medicaid agency. They’re alert to the fact they may be getting a letter very soon to renew their coverage,” Alker said.

Alker also worries that staffing shortages could make it more difficult for people to have their eligibility forms processed.

“First of all, the governor really has to make a commitment to ensure that children don’t lose coverage inappropriately because that has to start at the top,” Alker said.

It could take up to a year for the state to review Medicaid eligibility.

Adults who are making more money now than they were during the pandemic may no longer be eligible for Medicaid and would have to seek health care on the federal marketplace.

Anyone with questions about their Medicaid eligibility can call 800-403-0864.