One-third of Medicaid members say health plan didn't reach out about renewing coverage

More than one-third of Medicaid members (35%) said they were not contacted by their health plan to renew coverage, a recent survey from healthcare software company Icario and conducted by The Harris Poll showed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollees had not needed to recertify their eligibility to maintain benefits. But once the public health emergency ended in May, consumers and states have grown concerned at the prospect of major disenrollment and the consequences that would follow.

At least 3.78 million Medicaid members have been disenrolled as of August 1, based on data from 41 states and the District of Columbia, according to KFF analysis. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) previously estimated that up to 6.8 million who still qualify for Medicaid coverage will become automatically disenrolled if they don't complete recertification, sometimes just because of procedural reasons.

"It's on health plans to engage with members and educate them on what needs to happen to avoid being disenrolled, and the survey results indicate a significant number of plans aren't doing so sufficiently," said Troy Jelinek, chief commercial officer at Icario.

Older Medicaid members also reported that their health plans did not help them through the redetermination process at a higher rate than other enrollees. According to the survey, 55% of Medicaid members aged 65 and older did not receive outreach from their plans.

For members that were able to connect with health companies, they said they had a positive experience. Specifically, 93% of these respondents said they felt their plan provided helpful resources and information to complete the Medicaid renewal process.

“The survey data indicates that most plans do a relatively good job of giving their members the data they need, but that they’ve had greater difficulty in reaching them in the first place,” Jelinek said. “The results show that the older the member is, the more likely they are to report not hearing from their health plan. This means that plans can do a better job of tracking down their older members, who also tend to be a part of higher-risk populations, and educating themselves about communication preferences across age groups.”

The survey was conducted online among 957 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older covered by Medicaid.