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Advocates warn families may lose Medicaid coverage in coming months


By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

Children’s advocates are warning that thousands of Nevada children could lose Medicaid coverage over the next year, starting as early as May 1.

Soon, the feds are expected to declare an end to the public-health emergency, which means states will start re-evaluating everyone’s eligibility.

Kendall Lyons, director of health policy for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance in Las Vegas, said the system could be overwhelmed once they have to contact close to 350,000 Nevada families with kids on Medicaid.

“We really want to make sure that we work with our state’s Medicaid office to ensure that those that are eligible, once the public health emergency ends,” said Lyons, “don’t lose their coverage for administrative reasons or procedural reasons. “

Families can update their address and sign up for electronic notices at the Access Nevada website.

A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families says that kids in Nevada are especially at risk because the state has not funded 12 months of continuous coverage for children.

Families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid can enroll kids in Nevada Check Up, but that program charges premiums and requires a separate application.

The state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services says it is working to improve computer systems so they can scan other government databases to automatically renew people.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center, said the scale of the problem nationwide is huge.

“For all of these reasons, we estimate today that 6.7 million children are at extremely high risk of becoming uninsured during this process,” said Alker. “As big as this number is, we actually believe this is a conservative estimate. “

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 20% of Nevadans are on Medicaid, including one in three children.

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