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Some ND families may be losing Medicaid

Courtesy North Dakota Navigators

Some North Dakota families may be losing Medicaid coverage.

A number of families enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic years. The federal government declared a public health emergency when the COVID-19 pandemic began, in March, 2020.

"During that time, states were required to continue medical coverage for medical assistance program, like Medicaid, even if someone's eligibility changed," said Cheryl Coyle, one of the North Dakota Navigators — a program to help people navigate the health insurance marketplace, funded through the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. Coyle said during the pandemic, Medicaid eligibility reviews were paused. But those reviews resumed in April.

"In North Dakota, the first disenrollments actually happened in May," Coyle said.

Coyle said there are 133,000 North Dakotans on Medicaid. She said people lose coverage because they no longer meet income guidelines, or have insurance through their jobs. Coyle said others have been denied because they failed to respond.

"Those are the ones we're really trying to reach out to, and make sure they're doing everything they can do to not show up at the pharmacy or the doctor's office, and find out they no longer have Medicaid," Coyle said.

Coyle said what the navigators are helping people to either re-enroll in Medicaid, or get their contact information updated.

"People who lose their Medicaid have 90 days to provide the state with the information it needs to verify their income eligibility, without having to reapply," Coyle said. She said the navigators can also help people reapply if they miss the 90 day deadline. And Coyle said those who no longer qualify for Medicaid, because of income levels, but do not have insurance through their jobs, can apply for health insurance in the marketplace — and navigators will help them through it.

"Health insurance can be confusing," Coyle said. "It's sometimes nice to have somebody walk you through that process."

Coyle said the navigators can't tell them which plan to pick, but they can explain the different pieces, and make sure they are making the right decisions for their families.

You can contact the North Dakota Navigators by calling 800-233-1737.

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