Nearly 100,000 Georgians have lost Medicaid coverage since the federal public health emergency brought on by the pandemic expired in April, the state Department of Community Health (DCH) reported Thursday.

The federal government prohibited disenrolling any Medicaid recipients for three years after COVID-19 struck the nation in March 2020. With the public health emergency at an end, states began a year-long process of reassessing eligibility for those on Medicaid this spring.

Georgia began processing renewal applications for 216,991 Georgians in June for Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids. At the close of the month, 64,423 of these Georgians were renewed while 95,578 lost coverage.

Nearly 57,000 renewal applications remain pending and will retain coverage while those recipients’ eligibility is determined.

The vast majority of those who lost coverage – 89,168 – were procedurally terminated due to lack of information received by the DCH to make an eligibility determination.

In April, the state agency estimated that about half a million Georgians were newly enrolled in Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids during the pandemic, bringing the total number of enrollees to about 2.7 million, about a quarter of the state’s population.  

The state was able to automatically renew 50,607 Georgia Medicaid enrollees last month by using available data on those recipients, including data from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – commonly known as food stamps – or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Those who could not be renewed automatically received renewal packets from the DCH. As of June 30, the agency had received more than 46,000 completed packets.

The state also contacted affected Medicaid enrollees through other means, including phone calls and text messages at 30 and 15 days before their “redetermination” deadline.

Working with other state agencies, the DCH launched a statewide public information campaign including TV and radio ads in English and Spanish, social media outreach, digital advertising, bus shelter signs, billboards, and media outreach.

The DCH plans to complete the redetermination process for all of Georgia’s Medicaid enrollees by the end of May 2024.

This story comes to Rough Draft via a partnership with Capitol Beat.

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.