• June 22nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 10:12:33 PM

86,101 Colorado Children Removed From Medicaid Insurance Rolls


Colorado ranked 13th in the nation for dropping more than 86,000 children from Medicaid. / Colorado ocupó el puesto 13 en la nación por dejar caer a más de 86.000 niños de Medicaid. (Foto: Adobe Stock)

 

By Eric Galatas

Posted May 16, 2024

 

More than 4 million children in the U.S. lost their health insurance after automatic Medicaid coverage renewals enacted during the COVID public health emergency ended, according to a new report from Georgetown University.

Colorado ranked 13th in the nation for dropping more than 86,000 children.

Toni Sarge, child and family health director for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, said having access to continual health coverage is important for all people but it is critical for children.
“Children from birth to age six are supposed to have 15 routine office visits, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics,” Sarge noted. “If they lost insurance and missed even one appointment, that could mean they were missing an important vaccination or not getting care for an injury.”

Two thirds of Coloradans who lost their health coverage were still eligible but were terminated due to administrative errors. Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which initially argued the process has simply returned to normal and people are not returning paperwork, and new adjustments should reduce procedural disenrollments.

Colorado is one of eight states with fewer children enrolled than prior to the pandemic.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and co-author of the report, said the ultimate responsibility falls on state governors who are responsible for running Medicaid programs.

“The world wasn’t a perfect place before the pandemic. We had uninsured children who were eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but weren’t enrolled, in part because of these red-tape barriers,” Alker pointed out. “That is not the yardstick that states should be using. And if they are, and they’re actually below where they were, that is really cause for concern.”

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy has a guide to help people appeal their disenrollment, available in English and Spanish.

Sarge added something as simple as a change of address could have led to paperwork not reaching parents.

“Children were showing up to doctor’s appointments and then being told that they did not have coverage at that appointment,” Sarge observed. “Their parents had no idea as to why they would not have been covered, because they never received paperwork telling them otherwise.”

 

 

Eric Galatas is a producer with Public News Service.