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More than 300,000 Georgia kids lose health coverage post-COVID

Credit: iStock

By Shanteya Hudson

May 10, 2024 

More than 300,000 children have been dropped from Medicaid and Peach Care for kids since the pandemic ended.

A report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families pinpoints a nationwide trend: More than 4 million kids were left uninsured, soon after the COVID public-health emergency ended.

Georgia ranks third-highest for the number of children who have lost coverage.

Judy Fitzgerald, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, said many lost coverage because of procedural reasons rather than eligibility.

“They’re not ineligible, but there was missing or incomplete paperwork, or what we know from families is, they felt like they didn’t receive the notification, they didn’t know,” she said. “And so, there are a large number of children who are still eligible.”

Fitzgerald said the repercussions of disenrollment can be dire, as when children can’t get timely access to health-care services, they’re more vulnerable to illnesses and developmental delays. The report also found parents with access to employer-sponsored health plans can’t always afford the cost of adding their dependents.

While parents face higher income requirements for Medicaid, many children who lost coverage during the pandemic are still eligible. Fitzgerald said Voices for Georgia’s Children is advocating for ways to increase enrollment for children, including a more simplified enrollment process and assistance from state agencies to expedite screening.

“So, we’re asking the state to expand the kinds of organizations that could screen kids for eligibility, and enroll them in coverage temporarily while the state processes an official enrollment,” she added, “and this is something called presumptive eligibility.”

She said programs such as SNAP, and information through the Department of Labor, could be used to facilitate renewals. For families who don’t qualify, she said, alternative coverage options are available through the insurance marketplace. Navigators through Georgians for a Healthy Future can help find them.

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.

This story is republished from Public News Service (PNS) under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.