A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Report indicates 70,000 KY kids could lose health coverage as pandemic-era law expires this spring

By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

A pandemic-era law that helped keep children and families continuously covered through Medicaid ends this spring, and new research from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds an estimated three out of four children will likely lose coverage as a result.

On April 1, Kentucky’s Department of Medicaid Services will begin renewals, checking residents’ eligibility as part of a requirement from the federal government.

(NKyTribune file)

Priscilla Easterling, outreach coordinator at Kentucky Voices for Health, explained that around 80% of families will be successfully renewed. But she added that the remainder of people, including an estimated 70,000 Kentucky kids, could lose coverage for administrative reasons, and are depending on being notified they are at risk of losing insurance.

“For everyone else who has to go through that act of renewal, the stakes are kind of high, because they have to make sure that they get those notices.”

Easterling added that kids with parents who work hourly or seasonal jobs, or who work more than one part-time job, can be particularly susceptible to losing coverage when household income temporarily puts them over Medicaid or CHIP eligibility levels. She said enacting a continuous coverage protection in the Commonwealth would eliminate that churn.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, said federal research indicates 72% of the kids who lose their Medicaid coverage will still be eligible, but added that Black and Latino families are at greater risk of losing theirs.

“Language issues may be a barrier when you have families who are perhaps mixed-status immigrant families, who have some fear about engaging with the government; families who live in rural areas, who don’t have good internet connectivity,” she said. “There are lots of reasons families are going to be at greater risk.”

Nearly 70% of Black children and 60% of Latino children nationwide are now receiving public coverage, according the data from the National Health Interview Survey.

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