HEALTH

Thousands of Utah children losing their Medicaid benefits

Feb 16, 2024, 6:00 PM

a child plays with a bubble, utah medicaid changing for kids...

Elijah Hill plays with his bubbles, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2023, in Westfield, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is in the top five in the nation for the largest percentage drop in children’s Medicaid coverage. There are 37,283 fewer Utah children who have Medicaid benefits than they did a year ago. 

These numbers were reversed a few years ago with an influx of people relocating to Utah.

“We were in the top five of highest growth rates of our Medicaid enrollment nationally,” said Jennifer Strohecker, Utah State Medicaid director.

During the pandemic, Medicaid was not checking eligibility or reviewing cases. So all those who joined during the influx were allowed to stay regardless of whether or not they would have typically qualified.

Now, Medicaid is back to normal. 

They are requiring eligibility and many Utahns are making too much money to qualify. This is thanks to Utah’s booming economy, which did very well despite the pandemic.

“We knew there would be a subset of individuals who may no longer meet those eligibility requirements,” said Strohecker.

The economy isn’t the only reason for the dropping enrollment. Many people have failed to reapply.

“After three years of not having to fill out an enrollment form or go through that process, this was going to be a change for some of our population,” said Strohecker.

Medicaid has made extra efforts to send out notifications and spread the word about the change. 

However, they know there are still people who are unaware that they need to start the eligibility process.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services has resources to help Utahns check their Medicaid status.

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Thousands of Utah children losing their Medicaid benefits