For more than two years, states have maintained coverage of their Medicaid enrollees as a condition of receiving enhanced federal Medicaid funding under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, resulting in considerable increases in coverage for all Americans, including pregnant and postpartum individuals. When the federal Medicaid continuous coverage requirement expires, states will redetermine eligibility for nearly all Medicaid enrollees, including roughly 1.7 million people enrolled in a Medicaid or CHIP pregnancy eligibility group. This issue brief reviews proactive strategies that states can deploy to support postpartum individuals in maintaining health coverage and access to care when the Medicaid continuous coverage guarantee ends and beyond.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.