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Millions of New Yorkers could lose Medicaid coverage unless they re-enroll

Millions of New Yorkers will have to re-enroll in Medicaid and other related health insurance plans to avoid losing their coverage.

Nearly eight million New Yorkers are enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan. Sharon Chesna, the executive director of Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network in Binghamton, said that number skyrocketed when the pandemic first began.

“Hundreds of thousands of people needed health insurance because their employer coverage was gone,” Chesna said. “Others needed it because they were not able to work in any other capacity.”

People who got coverage at the start of the pandemic have not had to renew since 2020, under federal public health emergency guidelines. But now that those public health emergency rules have ended, New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid will have to show that they’re still eligible.

Chesna said some people went back to work and are getting insurance that way. But people who still need Medicaid coverage could fall through the cracks if they don’t renew in time.

“All of those individuals will need to have that renewal,” Chesna said. “That's why we really want to make sure to get the word out there. Because we don't want to see that happen.”

Mothers & Babies has a team of navigators who work with people to update their information and renew their enrollment. Chesna said the team is 100% bilingual, with staff who speak Vietnamese, Mandarin, Spanish, Creole, and French, to help residents who don’t speak English fluently.

According to the nonprofit, just under 50,000 Broome County residents are enrolled in Medicaid and related plans. One-fifth, or 10,000 residents, got coverage through the public health emergency policies.

This spring, New Yorkers will start receiving renewal notices from the state, with particular deadlines, based on when their enrollment ends. People will have to meet those deadlines in order to keep their coverage. The process will continue until next spring.

Southern Tier residents can call the nonprofit at 607-772-0517, or visit the Mothers & Babies website, to be set up with help through the process.