Many Alabamians set to lose Medicaid benefits this weekend
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thousands of Alabamians are set to lose their Medicaid benefits at the end of March.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government prohibited states from kicking people off Medicaid if they were no longer eligible, but that ban expires April 1 and states can disenroll people who are no longer eligible for Medicaid.
“All the people that have gotten on Medicaid in the last three years, and maybe their circumstances have changed, and so they no longer qualify, but they’ve been able to keep it for all this time,” said Molly Stone, the executive director of Medical Outreach Ministries.
Current Medicaid enrollees are encouraged to take steps to make sure their coverage is renewed:
● Update your contact information with Alabama Medicaid
● Look out for mail from Alabama Medicaid about your coverage
● Complete the Alabama Medicaid renewal form (if one is received)
But not everyone will be eligible for renewal. Gov. Kay Ivey’s budget proposal could help some enrollees. It includes $69 million of new funding for Medicaid that would have to be passed by lawmakers.
“That is driven largely by the anticipated expiration of the federal public health emergency funds, thereby increasing state obligations for the Medicaid program,” said State Finance Director Bill Poole.
“If you no longer qualify for Medicaid, then to start looking for other resources in the area that can help you,” said Stone.
Medical Outreach Ministries is one of 19 free clinics in Alabama that offer services for uninsured people. You can also search for low-cost private health insurance plans on healthcare.gov.
“Health insurance is really a gateway to a lot of services, and iIt can be detrimental to people, especially if they go and have a huge hospital bill. Medical debt is a big factor a lot of times in bankruptcy,” said Stone.
Uninsured Alabamians can visit the Medical Outreach Ministries website to apply for its services.
Medicaid expansion is a Democratic priority, but Republican lawmakers are debating if the state can afford it long-term.
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