As the number of individuals who find themselves unemployed due to COVID-19 continues to increase, reports have come out documenting that the majority of those filing unemployment claims are facing significant delays in confirming eligibility for and receiving benefits. This led us to wonder if similar issues exist for individuals who are applying for Medicaid coverage after becoming newly eligible. With over 70 million people currently enrolled, representing over 20 percent of the US population, Medicaid provides coverage of essential services such as primary and preventive care, treatment for chronic illnesses, and behavioral health care to individuals with low income and/or disabilities. During the pandemic, the Medicaid program, similarly to unemployment benefits, has the potential to offer a vital safety net.
To further understand how states are responding, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) partnered with the Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) to conduct a content analysis of strategies used by states to facilitate Medicaid enrollment for individuals who are newly eligible due to the pandemic. In this Health Affairs blog post, CHCS and IMI explore trends identified in their analysis on how state Medicaid agencies are supporting Medicaid enrollment during COVID-19 and opportunities to enhance those efforts.