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Know Your Rights
Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Pubs & Reports

Strengthening Medicaid | NEW YORK STATE PROFILE

Medicaid is an essential program that provides health services for individuals and families who otherwise would not be able to afford them. In New York, 36.8 percent of residents, or 7.3 million individuals, are enrolled in Medicaid. Medicaid improves health outcomes for recipients, improves their financial stability, saves lives, creates thousands of jobs that bolster our local economies, and helps reduce economic and racial disparities in health insurance and healthcare access. However, while anyone who is eligible for Medicaid is guaranteed coverage, many eligible New York residents struggle to enroll in and maintain Medicaid coverage. Even when enrolled, many struggle to get access to the services that they need.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress passed legislation requiring Medicaid programs to keep people continuously enrolled. During this time, Medicaid enrollees did not face the regular barriers to renewing coverage that leave many temporarily or permanently disenrolled and without access to care. As a result, the number of Medicaid enrollees in New York grew from 6 million just before the public health emergency was declared to 7.3 million in 2022.4

At the end of 2022, Congress passed legislation to terminate the continuous enrollment requirement as of March 31, 2023, and scheduled a phase out of the enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds that were provided to states to provide that coverage through December 2023. To prevent the loss of these important gains in stabilizing Medicaid coverage for millions of residents, New York will need to act quickly to remove barriers to enrolling in and maintaining coverage.

The following report provides a brief overview of New York’s Medicaid system; describes results from a survey conducted by Make the Road New York, in partnership with Marke the Road States, Center for Popular Democracy, and People’s Action Institute between September 2022 and February 2023; and makes recommendations for how New York can avoid losing the critical gains in health care coverage made during the pandemic by addressing barriers to enrollment, renewal, and accessing services.