ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Experts say during the Covid era, Medicaid enrollment increased by nearly 30%. Now that the public health crisis is over, officials are urging New Yorkers to renew their eligibility or shop around for coverage if they’re no longer eligible. During Covid, Congress prohibited states from dropping anyone from Medicaid regardless of eligibility.  This protected health coverage for many people over the past three years. But with the pandemic over, that process has changed. Some people are eligible for auto renewal, but not all. 

“We’re finding that across the country that many people are not aware that what used to be a routine thing every year has restarted and people are missing the mail and not responding,” said Dan Tsai, Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid. He said there are 93 million Americans who are enrolled in Medicaid; it’s important you update your contact information, to ensure you receive the form. “And when you get it, respond. Because if you don’t respond this time you will lose coverage, and we do not want that to happen,” he explained.

Tsai also said if you’re a parent who’s had a recent job or income change and are ineligible for Medicaid, still fill out the form because your child may still be eligible. If you do need to shop around for coverage, you could be eligible for zero premium or low costs insurance through the marketplace. “So if you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, we strongly encourage that you try to see if you’re eligible for coverage through one of the Obama Care plans, or some of you may now have coverage through an employer and will need to enroll through that,” said Tsai.

Eric Linzer, President & CEO of the NY Health Plan Association said this is a large undertaking that will require coordination across the entire industry. “So health plans, hospitals, doctors, community organizations and the state. The goal should be making sure that these individuals have coverage, whether it’s Medicaid, The Essential Plan or commercial coverage. Linzer said people usually have 30 to 90 days to respond to that renewal form.