Thousands of Alaskans to lose Medicaid benefits this July by carlos matÍAS
This month ends the health emergency declared by the Federal Government, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the end of the emergency, the special coverage of health services ends, and thousands of Alaskans will be left without medical care and without knowing what to do to recover it.
Several thousand of the nearly 258,000 Alaskans who are on Medicaid programs will, quite possibly, lose these health coverages in a matter of a few days, or at most a few weeks.
July 2022 will mark the end of the health emergency declared by the U.S. Federal Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This emergency has been supporting Medicaid. It is estimated that more than one out of every three Alaskans has this special Health coverage: 258 thousand, according to official sources, out of the 736 thousand inhabitants of the state, per the US Census.
Medicaid has become the largest public insurance program in the country. Low-income adults, children, the elderly, the disabled and pregnant women are eligible. In the case of the latter, it is important that they receive medical care, because maternal mortality among women of color has risen sharply.
In Alaska, the Medicaid programs are known as DenaliCare and Denali KidCare. The health emergency began in March 2020, and since then, Alaskans who have lost health coverage have been able to stay on Medicaid these two years, without having to file any annual paperwork. But the Biden Administration announced that the health emergency and special Medicaid coverage would end in July.
Many people without Medicaid may be able to get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act or through their employers. But those who are disenrolled will have to enroll in alternative health coverage. That’s why it’s important for everyone to verify their information with the Department of Public Assistance, and complete Medicaid renewal paperwork if they are eligible. Nationally, about 15 million people, including children, could lose Medicaid coverage.
At the closing of this edition, the following update was received: Several outlets are reporting that the Federal government is likely to extend the public health emergency past the current July 15 expiration. As always, if an Alaskan knows that they are going to lose their health insurance or would like help enrolling in coverage, they should call United Way’s helpful Healthcare Navigators at 2-1-1 for assistance. Spanish interpreting is available.
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