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300,000 Oklahomans set to lose Medicaid coverage

Oklahoma officials estimate 300,000 Oklahomans will lose Medicaid eligibility following the expiration of some pandemic-era expansions.
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Oklahoma officials estimate 300,000 Oklahomans will lose Medicaid eligibility following the expiration of some pandemic-era expansions.

The federal government is rolling back some Medicaid policies that kept hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans covered throughout the pandemic.

In early 2020, the federal government created a policy that allowed anyone who enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic to stay on it, even if they’ve lost eligibility — usually by getting a raise or new job that makes their income too high.

That allowed more people to enroll in SoonerCare, the state's Medicaid program, to avoid coverage gaps.

The federal policy stops at the end of March. Secretary of Health Kevin Corbett said that’s going to mean a big drop in enrollment.

"At this point in time, about 300,000 individuals by our estimation are no longer eligible," he said.

That’s out of the 1.3 million Oklahomans currently enrolled.

The state is going to phase these people out of the program instead of suddenly dropping them. Corbett said many of the adults who lost eligibility already have traditional health insurance, so they’ll be the first to lose that coverage. Next will be adults who haven’t been using their benefits.

Some have lost eligibility because of paperwork issues, so the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is urging members to get in touch and ensure their documents are up-to-date.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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