Emily Rice Published

State Health Officials Announce Completion Of Medicaid Unwinding

A pen lays on documents to sign up for health insurance.
State health officials announced the completion of pandemic-era Medicaid unwinding on Tuesday.
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid benefits were expanded and restrictions loosened to help immediate needs across the country.

Federal lawmakers reigned in this spending in December 2022 with the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, returning eligibility to pre-pandemic levels.

“Completing the Medicaid unwinding process represents a significant milestone for West Virginia’s health care system,” said Cynthia Beane, West Virginia Department of Human Services (DoHS) Bureau for Medical Services Commissioner. “Throughout this period, the department has remained dedicated to ensuring that every West Virginian received the care they required, when they needed it most.”

The DoHS Bureau for Medical Services released updated data following the completion of the state’s Medicaid unwinding period, from April 2023 to March 2024.

During that time, the bureau conducted 520,729 Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) renewals.

According to a press release, from April 2023 through the end of December 2023, 279,952 individuals were approved for ongoing coverage and 207,674 were not. 

The 90-day follow-up on pending and incomplete renewals from January 2024 through March 2024 is not yet available.

The bureau said that of those not eligible for Medicaid or WVCHIP, 14,561 individuals have been transferred to the federal marketplace to be determined eligible for a health plan.

Medicaid enrollment at the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency was 504,760 in March 2020. Due to the continuous eligibility provision, Medicaid enrollment increased to 665,010 in March 2023. Medicaid enrollment as of April 1, 2024, was 516,500.

CHIP enrollment in June 2020 was 22,025; it went down to 18,138 in April 2023. WVCHIP enrollment, as of March 31, 2024, was 25,663 due to a net gain of 6,049 children to the WVCHIP program from the Medicaid program during the unwinding period.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Marshall Health.