Medicaid Eligibility Expanding Fast as Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 27, 2020

States in the U.S. have expanded Medicade eligibility under the Affordable Care Act as large spikes in unemployment occur.

With reports of large spikes in unemployment, economists believe a global recession is unavoidable amidst the Coronavirus crisis.

Since the health insurance of many Americans is tied to their employment, the U.S. is likely to also see large increases in uninsured people with newly lower incomes, according to a report by the Urban Insitute.

However, states in the U.S. have expanded Medicade eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Related: Cross-Platform Telehealth, Social Engagement Service Launches for Older Adults in Response to COVID-19

The 15 states that have not yet expanded eligibility under the ACA are least prepared to assist the many workers expected to simultaneously lose their jobs and their health insurance coverage.

Medicaid enrollment is not limited to a narrow open enrollment period, as is the case with most private insurance, so eligible people can enroll at any time during the year.

Subsidized Marketplace insurance is limited to those with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, meaning that losing a job and family income in a nonexpansion state will leave many with no affordable or accessible insurance options.

This dire situation may be a sufficient incentive for at least some of the remaining states to expand Medicaid eligibility.