Millions of otherwise eligible Medicaid consumers are at risk of being disenrolled only because there is no good way for the government to contact them. Data from the private sector can help.
Just before the end of the end of the public health emergency in May 2021, 87 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid. /1/ At the end of the emergency “all Medicaid enrollees face the return of the redetermination process by state agencies – the process that state governments use to assure that those who are receiving Medicaid benefits are still eligible.” /2/ Sadly, as many as 7 million Americans who would still be eligible for Medicaid services, including the oldest and sickest Americans, are at risk of being automatically disenrolled and will lose their healthcare coverage.
Many Americans will be disenrolled simply because of a lack of current contact information for these Americans. “Those most reliant on Medicaid are typically individuals who are the most difficult to reach and share information with. These members frequently move residences, resulting in a lack of consistency with reliable contact information.” /4/
Unnecessary dis-enrollment hurts not only those consumers who would otherwise be eligible, but it impacts every American and the healthcare system overall. Fewer Medicaid-enrolled Americans may mean
many individuals will choose to not seek preventive medical care to avoid the high cost that is associated with visiting a doctor’s office. Instead, they will flood emergency rooms with urgent illnesses and diseases that could have been easily prevented with treatment or early intervention from a primary care physician. With many being unable to pay emergency care bills, there will be an even greater debt put on health systems that are already financially constrained as they battle inflation, post-pandemic patient surges, and increased staffing shortages./5/
The private sector can help prevent millions of Medicaid-eligible Americans from being disenrolled. “With updated contact information available to all stakeholders, Medicaid members can be informed about the actions they need to take to renew their Medicaid coverage or ways to find alternative coverage.” /6/.
Data from the private sector, like members of the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), can partner with government agencies to make sure that those who are eligible for government benefits receive those benefits. Like in Medicaid re-enrollment, those benefits can mean life and death for millions of people, and data companies can help them get the healthcare they need.
/2/ Adam Rarick-Varner, Better Data for Better Health Among Medicaid Recipients, Newstex Blogs, Nov. 10, 2023 (“Rarick-Varner”).
/3/ Alice Burns, Elizabeth Williams, Bradley Corallo, and Robin Rudowitz, How Many People Might Lose Medicaid When States Unwind Continuous Enrollment? Kaiser Family Foundation, April 26, 2023.
/4/ Id., Rarick-Varner.
/5/ Id., Rarick-Varner.
/6/ Id., Rarick-Varner.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More