By Nadia Ramlagan for WVNS
Advocacy groups in West Virginia are working to raise awareness about the end of COVID-19 pandemic-related protections that have triggered a new review of who is on the rolls.
Sharon Carte, board president with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, said according to the state bureau that handles eligibility, it appears that around 30,000 thousand people on Medicaid or CHIP have been retained. That’s a 60% renewal rate.
“It looks like we weren’t as high as we would like,” she said. “But I think, you know, when we look at things like West Virginia’s unemployment rate has dropped, it might be fair to say that a lot of folks have gone back to the workforce, or may have other insurance now.”
For questions about eligibility, residents can call 1-800-318-2596, or visit the West Virginia Department for Health and Human Services Bureau for Medical Services website.
Carte added many West Virginians live with chronic conditions and illnesses. Left untreated, people often end up in the emergency room or with other medical needs that result in high medical bills.
“So it’s really important that they make sure that they have that coverage and they don’t have a surprise situation where they ended up having to pay out of pocket,” she explained.
Marcus Robinson, president of markets for the individual and family plan business with United Healthcare, added regular doctor’s visits are critical for preventive care and screenings – especially for kids gearing up to go back to school.
“I like to point back to how important your relationship is with your physician,” he said. “And keeping access to that relationship for your overall well being is really important.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, between 8 million and 24 million people nationwide are expected lose Medicaid coverage during the unwinding of the continuous enrollment provision.