While not many “good” things happened throughout the pandemic, one good thing that did happen was that Medicaid was there to support the many people who became qualified for coverage as our economy suffered.

Yes, 5.6+ million Floridians currently receive Medicaid benefits, or about a quarter of the state’s population. For many, this coverage is about to end. Primarily due to the economic impacts resulting from the epidemic, Florida has added almost 1.8 million additional people to the Medicaid roll since 2020.

“At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included a requirement that Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, in exchange for enhanced federal funding.” (Keiser Family Foundation) Well, the end of the public health emergency is about to happen.

CMS has required states to submit plans that explain how they are going to “unwind” their rolls. States have submitted various processes for approval and one method that will be used in Florida to look at continued eligibility is the most recent individual earnings data. In a recent legislative meeting, it was offered that almost 900,000 people no longer quality to receive Medicaid benefits and will be removed from the roll.

Another 850,000 people are targeted because either they have failed to respond to information requests or they haven’t used Medicaid benefits over the last two years. For Medicaid beneficiaries who may have moved, once, twice, or more over the last two years, they are in danger of losing their benefits, as mailed questionnaires likely have not found them.

For many of these individuals, other options may not be available. Because Florida did not expand Medicaid, families earning under the Federal Poverty Limits are not eligible to receive subsidies under the government run health exchanges. Said Erica Monet Li, a policy analyst at Florida Policy Institute, “This is a historic number of Floridians to potentially lose health coverage — one in 22 people — and all within the span of under 12 months.”

2023 will, indeed, be an interesting year.