According to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 500,000 Texans losing their Medicaid health insurance, which they had continuously held for more than three years.
It’s called “unwinding,” a banal term for losing access to life-saving medical care. The majority affected by this are children, young adults, and new mothers who recently had a child.
During the early days of COVID, the federal government passed a law that allowed anyone already receiving Medicaid to stay on it through March 2023, no matter their circumstances. Two million more Texans were able to stay on Medicaid thanks to the rule. However, this requirement expired on March 31, prompting states across the United States to review Medicaid participants’ eligibility.
Texas is by far the largest state to not participate in the Medicaid expansion when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. As such, Millions of Texans are caught between the dreaded gap between being eligible for state coverage and federal subsidies for marketplace insurance.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in April, Texas began the extensive task of reviewing the eligibility of its 5.9 million Medicaid beneficiaries. According to the commission’s data, Texas has assessed over 600,000 individuals so far. Out of this group, approximately 112,000 people were deemed eligible and maintained their Medicaid coverage. Nearly 96,000 people were no longer eligible, while the renewal process for another 173,000 Texans is still ongoing.
Unfortunately, approximately 405,000 individuals lost coverage due to procedural reasons, including failure to respond to the state’s information request or providing the required details within the designated time frame.
Concerns about such a scenario had been raised by advocates for years, citing the possibility of individuals missing important communication, such as mailed packets, phone calls, or text messages, especially if they had changed their contact information or residence.
Texas remains the state with the highest number of uninsured people, including children. Nearly 20 percent of Texans lack coverage, mostly ethnic minorities and those under the poverty line.