published : 2023-09-23

HHS Orders 30 States to Halt Medicaid and CHIP Disenrollments Due to Glitch

Glitch Causes Nearly 500K Children and Other Beneficiaries to Lose Their Insurance

An image taken with a Nikon D850 showcasing a diverse group of children playing in a park, symbolizing the importance of healthcare coverage for children and the impact of the glitch on their lives.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that 30 states temporarily pause disenrollments from their Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs. This directive comes in response to a glitch that was recently uncovered in August.

Medicaid, the federal/state health program designed to assist low-income individuals and families, reported that nearly 500,000 children and other beneficiaries who lost coverage due to a problem with automatic renewals will now regain their insurance.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), stated during a press briefing, "By addressing this system glitch in states nationwide, we will prevent more families and children from being disenrolled due to bureaucratic complications."

A heartwarming photograph captured with a Canon EOS R6, featuring a smiling family receiving their Medicaid coverage reinstatement letter, highlighting the relief and happiness brought by the HHS directive.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress had mandated continuous enrollment in state Medicaid programs. However, this requirement officially ended in May.

According to HHS, the glitch was causing states to incorrectly disenroll individuals, even when they were still eligible for coverage.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy non-profit, estimates that between 8 million and 24 million people will lose Medicaid coverage as continuous enrollment comes to an end.

A powerful image taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III, showing a healthcare professional assisting an elderly individual with their Medicaid application, emphasizing the significance of continuous enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The refusal of Republican-led states like Texas and Tennessee to expand Medicaid has drawn criticism from White House officials. They argue that this stance has contributed to the closure of medical facilities, especially in rural areas. The lack of effort by these states to re-enroll individuals in Medicaid is seen as part of the politicization of healthcare.

White House adviser Tom Perez, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, voiced his concern, stating, "We have the opportunity to significantly improve healthcare outcomes for rural Americans if we simply expand Medicaid in those states. It is both inhumane and unconscionable to neglect this opportunity."

Perez emphasized that Republican governors are essentially leaving money on the table, with real consequences for medical care and health outcomes in their respective states.