Hundreds of thousands may lose Medicaid health insurance as rules change for renewal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Over 3 million Pennsylvanians on Medicaid will have to reapply for continued coverage beginning April 1.

During the pandemic, those on Medicaid, state-provided health insurance for lower-income Pennsylvanians, did not have to reapply each year to determine their eligibility, but the federal government is ending that.

“Beginning April 1, when your annual renewal is up for your Medicaid insurance, you’ll be sent information to share information with us to see if you’re still eligible to receive Medicaid, and if you are, no problem, you’ll be continued,” said Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Val Arkoosh.

Arkoosh believes hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians could lose their health insurance.

“Probably around 620,000 may be making too much money now to qualify for Medicaid,” Arkoosh said.

Arkoosh hopes many of those now have jobs with employer-provided insurance, but, if not, she encourages people to contact Pennie, the state’s health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

“We will hand them off to Pennie where people can get very good, very high quality plans at a very low cost in the Pennsylvania marketplace,” Arkoosh said.

Even if the parents are no longer eligible for Medicaid, their children might still qualify under CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“Every child in the commonwealth, no matter what their parent makes, is eligible to get a health insurance policy through the CHIP program. What differs is how much they’ll pay for that health insurance policy,” Arkoosh said.

Arkoosh says the income eligibility for Medicaid has not changed. If you’re single and earn less than $20,120, you’re still eligible. For a family of four, if your income is below $41,400, you’re eligible for this free medical insurance, but you must submit your renewal forms when received.

If you don’t respond or ignore the deadlines, you could lose your health insurance.

Arkoosh was also at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on Thursday to discuss the federal changes to SNAP.

“The average household is going to lose $180 as that emergency allotment goes away,” she said.

That’s $180 dollars a month in food on average that 1.9 million Pennsylvanians are losing because a federal COVID relief program ended this month. Arkoosh says recipients should not despair.

“We want to make sure that anyone receiving SNAP has updated all of their information with the Department of Human Services because often if there’s been a change in your family size or maybe you have a health condition or increased housing costs, you may actually qualify for a larger SNAP benefit,” she said.

Human services secretary says loss of some SNAP benefits could stress local food banks


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