3.3 million children lose Medicaid coverage

Nina Serdiuk recalls the stressful moments when she found out her 14-year-old son Matvii had lost his Medicaid enrollment. With his medical condition, it is impossible for him to be without doctors and without insurance.

“Without any explanation they closed the straight access, and they didn’t give me new insurance,” Serdiuk said.  

The mother moved to the United States from Ukraine six years ago, in part to help find medical treatment for her son.

“He has multiple issues, like neurological issues, he doesn’t speak, he doesn’t walk, he has a G-tube. He has epilepsy,” she said. 

Like thousands of parents around the country, Serdiuk found out her child was dropped from Medicaid, the federal insurance programs that cover medical care for lower income families.

So far this year, there are at least 3.5 million fewer children on Medicaid rolls compared to last year.

These new enrollment decline figures come from an analysis by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families that has been examining data from all 50 states.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center, says states are currently going through family requalification processes.

“The country is going through a major process in our Medicaid health care system, which does serve half of children in this country,” said Alker. 

A federal policy that guaranteed medical coverage for low-income families through Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic ended back in March.

Since then, many states have been aggressively dropping recipients — including many children — from Medicaid rolls.

“A key question is how many of these 3.5 million are uninsured. We have a lot of reasons to be very worried that the answer is many of them are becoming uninsured,” said Alker. 

She says Texas and Florida account for 40% of the 3.5 million children dropped nationwide. She believes many of them are probably still eligible for coverage, but are being dropped for procedural reasons.

“Families moved around a lot during the pandemic. Maybe the state doesn’t have the right address for the family. They didn’t get the notice. Maybe they got the notice, and it wasn’t in the language that the parent speaks,” said Alker.