Pandemic Medicaid is set to expire. Here's how Kentucky plans to handle the change.
With the national pandemic state of emergency coming to an end, Kentucky officials are now working to wind down the temporary streamlined Medicaid program implemented to get people insured faster.
As governments scrambled to response to COVID-19 earlier in the outbreak, a fast signup option was created for Medicaid to get people covered and speed access to vaccinations and treatments. But that program is soon to be phased out.
"Now, that pandemic Medicaid is going to unwind. People cannot stay on it. And we're talking about 240,000 Kentuckians — we believe, that is a rough number — who signed up for Medicaid during the pandemic."Gov. Andy Beshear
It’s a shift critics worry will put millions of low-income Americans at risk of losing coverage, potentially ratcheting up their medical expenses.
In an effort to soften that landing in Kentucky, Beshear said – between March and June – those affected will likely fall into one of three categories.
First, some will qualify for regular Medicaid but need to fill out more extensive applications. Beshear said there is a possibility the state may be able to automate that process, but that’s not yet clear. Second, others may qualify for Medicare or have aged into the program since the pandemic started. Lastly, anyone without those options will be eligible for a plan on the state’s health insurance exchange, and in Beshear’s words, “very likely qualify for significant subsidies.”