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More than 700,000 Michiganders could lose Medicaid insurance in coming months

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ALEX PROIMOS
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Michiganders with Medicaid will have to redetermine their eligibility to stay enrolled

For the first time since the pandemic began, the federal government will require people with Medicaid to show income eligibility to keep their insurance.

According to the Center for Health and Research Transformation, that could result in 700,000 or more people in Michigan being disenrolled from the Medicaid insurance program in the coming months.

The center's Matt Hill says not everyone who is disenrolled will actually be ineligible. The state's health agency will put notices online on people's Medicaid accounts, and also send mailings — but people may not pay attention in time or they may have moved and not updated their address.

"You may miss notices about the redetermination process and therefore get unenrolled, just due to the fact that you didn't know the process was underway," he said.

Hill said people who are disenrolled but are still eligible will be able to reapply, but the process is complicated. And people who no longer meet the Medicaid income eligibility requirements can still try to find insurance on the federal marketplace known as Obamacare.

But he said many will likely stay uninsured due to budget and inflation worries. The question, he said, will be "how bad do I need this coverage, versus how bad do I need to put food on the table?"

Hill says the state and local community groups will be doing sustained outreach to people on Medicaid, to help them with the process of redetermining their eligibility.

The redetermination period begins on April 1.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.