How to shop for new insurance if you lose Medicaid coverage

If you lose your Medicaid coverage, you will need to shop for new insurance. Although this can be daunting, it is important to know that all states have insurance markets where people who lose Medicaid can buy new coverage with help from subsidies. The following are tips to make the process easier:

1. Understand What Is Happening to Medicaid: At the start of the pandemic, the federal government prohibited states from kicking people off Medicaid if they were no longer eligible. That ban ends this spring and states are already verifying eligibility. Some states are expected to cut ineligible people in April, while most states will start cutting people in May, June or July.

2. Know Where to Get New Coverage: State-based health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act are the only places where people can buy individual insurance with help from an income-based subsidy. Shoppers can find coverage sold outside these marketplaces, but it may be risky.

3. Consider Income-Based Subsidies: Shoppers can get income-based subsidies to help pay monthly premiums of plans they buy on state-based marketplaces. The cost of any new plan should be one of the first things people consider.

4. Understand Coverage Differences: Individual insurance differs from Medicaid in several ways. Some marketplace plans come with a big deductible that people must pay before most coverage starts. Individual insurance also groups hospitals and doctors in networks. The insurance may cover much less of the bill for care received outside those networks

5. Seek Assistance: Seeking assistance is a good idea, especially for people who need help figuring out their income for the coming year. There are several ways people can get help, including state marketplaces, navigators, counselors, and independent brokers.

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