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Experts: Kids Often Eligible for Medicaid, Even if Their Parents Aren’t

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023   

Kentucky begins its eligibility review of kids' Medicaid coverage this month - and experts say it's vital the process goes seamlessly, so kids aren't removed because of procedural errors or incomplete information.

Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, explained that most households should receive notices in the coming weeks.

She added that it's even more critical to ensure kids retain their coverage, because Kentucky has recently implemented a new continuous eligibility policy.

"If they're able to renew their children's coverage, those kids will have coverage for 12 months - with no gaps," said Beauregard. "That's really exciting, because what we've seen in the past is that there's churn throughout the year based on fluctuating income, other changes in the household."

According to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, more than 47% of Kentucky children rely on Medicaid or KCHIP coverage.

Beauregard said the percent of kids on Medicaid and KCHIP coverage in the state's rural counties is especially high, making it even more critical parents and caregivers complete the renewal process for kids.

"It's as high as 77% in some eastern Kentucky counties," said Beauregard, "and it really is the most comprehensive coverage that kids can have. We need to make sure that our kids aren't losing coverage during Medicaid renewal."

Joan Alker - a research professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy, and the executive director, Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University at Georgetown University - said the ripple effects of increasing numbers of kids without coverage could be far-reaching.

"Children are not expensive to cover, but they're regular utilizers of care," said Alker. "We don't want families showing up at the pharmacy and being told, no, you can't get your child's medication."

According to data from KFF, kids are being kicked off of Medicaid rolls largely due to simple errors or change of address.

Nationwide, nearly 700,000 children have lost coverage during the unwinding, although experts say that number is likely much higher.



Disclosure: Georgetown University Center for Children & Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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