Tens of thousands of Nevadans have lost Medicaid since May

By: - August 9, 2023 1:27 pm

A new state data dashboard indicates over half of calls for assistance are dropped before reaching help. (Getty Images)

More than 32,700 Nevadans have lost Medicaid coverage in the first month since the state began to redetermine eligibility after the pandemic era expansion ended in May, according to a data dashboard launched by the state Wednesday to provide transparency of the process. 

Despite the effort to be transparent, the data lags almost 6 weeks behind numbers tracked by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which reports almost 89,000 Nevadans losing care as of August 8. 

“This Dashboard was designed to be transparent regarding the impact on Nevada’s Medicaid population during the unwinding of the continuous eligibility requirements that were established during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Robert Thompson, the administrator of the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS), said in a press release. “Our agency has worked to reach as many Medicaid recipients as possible in efforts to update addresses and obtain all needed paperwork as we move forward with redetermining eligibility for these households.”

Millions of Americans have already lost or are at risk of losing their benefits, including potentially as many as 200,000 Nevadans

Many are losing coverage due to procedural causes like paperwork, even as Nevadans are struggling to connect to DWSS. 

The dashboard indicates that the average wait time for people trying to call the DWSS hotline for help to navigate the next steps in the Medicaid determination process wait an average of 18 minutes, and over half of those calls (56%) were dropped before connecting with someone. 

The Medicaid expansion allowed people to be continuously enrolled throughout the Covid-19  public health emergency after Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March 2020. Last December, Congress removed the continuous enrollment provision from the public health emergency, which ended on March 31.

The expansion greatly increased the number of Nevada residents with health insurance. When the public emergency was declared in February 2020, Nevada had 643,681 people enrolled in Medicaid, compared to the highest enrollment in Medicaid of 937,307 Nevadans this May. 

“As the federal guidelines are returning to pre-pandemic eligibility rules and regulations, some recipients will not be eligible to continue Medicaid assistance,” said Thompson in the press release. 

DWSS started sending out renewal packets in April. Nevadans who did not respond to the renewal or no longer qualify for Medicaid based on income started to lose their benefits on June 1 but may qualify for tax credits or subsidies through Nevada Health Link.

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism.