In Michigan, three in ten residents, or nearly 3 million individuals, are enrolled in Medicaid.
Michigan United today released one of the most extensive Medicaid surveys of Michigan residents to date. 39.8 percent of survey respondents in Michigan were not aware that they will need to renew their coverage when the public health emergency ends, suggesting that many Medicaid recipients are at risk of losing their coverage.
“I realized I lost my Medicaid Insurance after getting treated at an emergency room and then receiving the bill later. I was not informed by my insurance that I needed to reapply for the 2023 year,” Kasey Lanese, a baker in Hancock, said.
Vital programs will be ended such as free COVID hospital treatment for undocumented people, automatic Medicaid renewal, Medicaid coverage of all covid-19 related care throughout the pandemic, coverage of telehealth appointments, and expanded provider regions.
The report also found that 40.2 percent of survey respondents in Michigan reported challenges with applying for their Medicaid coverage, such as long waits, navigating the program website, and difficulties getting through to talk to someone over the phone.
“My calls would never go through when I called with questions, and the website was a labyrinth that was hard to navigate, even for a computer-savvy person,” Yesenia Riaño Zarate, a community leader in Harrison Township, said.
Patients that were able to receive treatment reported high levels of satisfaction with the care they received. Nearly three out of four (73.7 percent) were either mostly or completely satisfied with the quality of care they receive through Medicaid, and many respondents described how important Medicaid coverage has been for them and their families. As Medicaid begins to unwind, it is important to notify current enrollees that they will need to re-enroll, make data on the unwinding publicly available, expand Medicaid eligibility, improve online enrollment/re-enrollment software, and remove the barriers to accessing health services through Medicaid as listed in the report.
The national report, entitled “Strengthening Medicaid: Challenges States Must Address as the Public Health Emergency Ends” was written in partnership with People’s Action Institute, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), and Make the Road New York/States. 2,937 Medicaid recipients were surveyed. This report comes just weeks after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 and as Congress negotiates a federal budget that could cut funding for key programs and initiate work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Congress set March 31, 2023, as the end date for the continuous Medicaid enrollment provisions and will phase down federal funding through December 2023. States that accepted the funding can resume un-enrolling people starting this month.