LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — If you are one of 930,000 Nevadans getting Medicaid benefits, it’s a good idea to watch your mailbox for a notification that your status could be changing.
It’s important to respond to that renewal packet. If you don’t — or if you do it too late — you could lose Medicaid coverage.
When the COVID-19 public health emergency expired, the government went back to its normal process of assessing eligibility for benefits. That “redetermination” process had been suspended during the pandemic as the government tried to assist more people in need. The number of people getting Medicaid benefits went up by about 43% during the pandemic.
The process to redetermine Medicaid eligibility began at the end of April.
“Now we’re playing catch-up for everyone who was on over the last three years,” said Katie Charleson, communications officer for Nevada Health Link. “This process is going to take place over the next year in a phased approach, based on the anniversary date of the individual.”
Agencies involved in the process have a common focus: keeping people insured, whether it’s through Medicaid, Nevada Health Link or some other form of assistance.
“About half of the individuals that we’ve renewed for June did maintain their eligibility,” said Kelly Cantrelle, deputy administrator for the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Cantrelle said it’s too early to tell how many people might lose coverage.
People who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will be referred to Nevada Health Link to enroll in coverage that qualifies for federal subsidies.
Why are people no longer eligible? One of the common answers is income. People who got Medicaid coverage initially might have gone back to work, where they might be eligible for coverage through a company. About 94% of those who applied for coverage after being transferred to Nevada Health Link from Medicaid were found eligible to enroll in a qualified Health Plan and 74% of those who applied were additionally found eligible for financial assistance.
Finding people is a critical part of the process. If you have changed jobs or moved, make sure that Medicaid has a current address to contact you. And if you just don’t go to the doctor very often, check to make sure you are still covered before you are hit with a big medical bill.