Keeping older Wyoming residents from losing nursing home coverage
(Wyoming News Service) Congress has put an end to a pandemic-era policy prohibiting states from dropping Medicaid recipients from their rolls, and 15 million people in Wyoming and across the U.S. are expected to lose their health insurance, even if they are eligible.
Wyoming Medicaid covers more than 5,000 older adults receiving care in home or at assisted living facilities.
Lee Grossman, state Medicaid agent for the Wyoming Department of Health, encouraged people to update their eligibility information, and to keep an eye on their mailbox.
"Reach out to us and provide that information when we reach out to them via mail," Grossman advised. "Our goal is to make sure that older adults in Wyoming, that they continue their coverage if they are indeed still eligible for this program."
Nearly half of those expected to be dropped from Medicaid rolls are people of color. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people are expected to lose coverage in Wyoming. Grossman pointed out his agency started sending out eligibility redetermination notices March 1, a month before the automatic renewal policy ended. He expects the move to return the program to pre-pandemic levels.
You can update your information online at wesystem.wyo.gov or by calling 855-203-2936.
The automatic renewal policy helped bring the nation's number of uninsured families to its lowest level on record. Grossman said people who lose coverage may be eligible for coverage through the federal exchange at HealthCare.gov.
"And for children in particular, we also have the Wyoming Kid Care CHIP program, which covers a higher eligibility threshold for income than Wyoming Medicaid does," Grossman noted.
Wyoming is one of 10 states opting not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would tap federal funding to provide coverage for some 19,000 workers caught in a coverage gap when they earn too much to qualify for regular Medicaid, but not enough to afford market rates.
Grossman emphasized his agency is working directly with nursing homes and community based waiver programs.
"The main message we want to make sure that Wyoming Medicaid clients are aware of, is to please reach out to us if they have had a change in their contact information," Grossman urged. "We want to make sure that no one loses eligibility for procedural reasons."