The state of Maryland is launching a campaign to inform residents about re-enrollment on Medicaid beginning May 11, 2023. State health officials, including Health Secretary Laura Herrera Scott, are encouraging eligible Marylanders to stay informed so they don’t lose their coverage as the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Medicaid is a federal health insurance program for low-income individuals and families, funded by federal and state funds. Before the pandemic, recipients had to re-enroll each year to reassess eligibility. However, during the pandemic, states were prohibited from removing people from the program, regardless of eligibility, in order to maintain coverage.
Maryland’s Medicaid enrollment has increased by approximately 375,000 since February 2020 due to the pandemic. This means thousands of people may be re-enrolling for the first time or after several years. Maryland health officials want to avoid the issue of unnecessarily losing Medicaid coverage, referred to as “Unwinding Medicaid,” by clarifying that “Maryland’s Medicaid renewals are not automatic this year.”
The Department of Health is conducting re-evaluations and subsequent de-enrollments on a monthly basis, with all reviews expected to be finalized by May 2024. Each of the state’s 1.8 million Medicaid beneficiaries will receive a notice from the Department of Health or Human Services to apply for renewal. If a recipient does not re-enroll, they risk losing their insurance. Those who are not eligible for Medicaid are encouraged to find affordable medical insurance through Maryland Health Connection.
The state’s informational campaign includes digital billboards, TV and radio commercials, social media ads, text messages and email notifications. Health and Welfare Secretary Rafael Lopez advises updating contact information and mailing addresses with the state to receive renewal notices and complete required paperwork by the deadline. Failure to do so could result in terminated coverage and a loss of necessary medical care.
Monthly reviews will continue through May 2024, with 12 “cohorts” of Marylanders receiving notices to apply for renewal. It is unclear how many Marylanders are at risk of losing Medicaid during the mitigation period, but state health officials will adjust messaging as necessary based on available data. Medicaid release policies and periods vary across states, with Maryland and 20 others beginning deregistration periods in June.