Approximately a third of the state’s population is about to have to re-enroll in MassHealth, a massive undertaking that state officials project will ultimately remove approximately 300,000 people from state-sponsored health insurance.
As of February, approximately 2.3 million people were enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, a 25 percent increase from before the pandemic. The increase has come not only as an influx of people lost their jobs and health insurance early in the pandemic but also because under federal rules, the state has not reassessed people’s eligibility to remain on the program for three years.
As the federal government puts COVID in the rear-view mirror, the normal annual eligibility process will resume starting in April, requiring millions of state residents to take action to retain their health insurance over the next 12 months.
“We want to make sure people end up in the programs they should be in,” said Hannah Frigand, director of education and enrollment services with Health Care for All, which is leading a public outreach campaign around the signups. “At the end of the day, it’s not about making sure MassHealth has the highest number, but that people are on the coverage they should be on.”
The state has continued to send out renewal forms to members even during the pandemic, as allowed under the federal guidelines, so as not to disrupt people’s renewal schedules and have up-to-date information. But those who haven’t responded have faced no repercussions. Those who responded but were ineligible for MassHealth have not lost coverage over the last three years.
“People are going to need to know they have to take action,” Frigand said. “Any time people get out of the practice of taking action, it’s harder to get people to do something.”
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