The AMA adopts policies to help limit insurance losses

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been hoping for an end to the public health emergency – but that distinction could also mean that millions will lose their insurance coverage.

Patients enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are protected by a requirement that states must continue to provide coverage to these patients during a public health emergency in exchange for a “temporary increase in federal matching funds, “according to a press release from the AMA. But once the public health emergency is over, states need to redefine the eligibility status of each Medicaid and CHIP patient, and many are at risk of losing their coverage.

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“During the public health emergency, Medicaid and CHIP provided health coverage and care to more than 80 million people, including those affected by COVID-19 and those who suffered job losses related to the pandemic. Due to federal support, unsecured rates remain stable even in the face of a pandemic. Willie Underwood III, MD, MSc, MPHtrustee of the AMA, the statement said.

In response to concerns, the AMA approved policies at its meeting in the House of Delegates aimed at helping patients maintain their insurance coverage after the public health emergency expires.

“We must be careful that our patients do not lose their coverage just because of a change in the federal public health emergency definition. They are counting on us to find ways to stay covered, “Underwood said in a statement.

Policies “aim to ensure that those who continue to be eligible for Medicaid / CHIP retain their coverage and those who are no longer eligible successfully switch to alternative eligible coverage” as the United States prepares. about the end of the public health emergency and the “mass enterprise” that will follow, the AMA said.

“It is crucial for politicians to address the implications for health justice,” because people of color – who make up more than half of Medicaid’s patients – will be significantly affected, the report said.

The AMA recommends the following to prevent loss of coverage:

  • streamlining recording and renewal;
  • investing in field support and recording;
  • acceptance of continuous eligibility;
  • promoting automatic recording;
  • promoting automatic transition; and
  • providing monitoring and supervision.

“These policies are part of AMA’s long-standing goal of expanding access and choosing affordable, quality health insurance. “We are concerned that once the public health emergency is over, redefining the state’s eligibility will lead to more patients becoming uninsured,” Underwood said in a statement. “We hope that states will use strategies to help Medicaid-eligible patients maintain their coverage and transfer those who are no longer eligible to other affordable health plans.”

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