Friday Five: Loss of income and employer-sponsored health insurance lead to Medicaid enrollment surge
In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about proposed changes to unemployment benefits, the pandemic’s impact on health insurance coverage, adult daycare going virtual, and a request for additional oversight of COVID-19 vaccine development.
1. Republican plan for $200 weekly unemployment extension would mean a benefit cut for 30 million Americans
The stimulus plan released earlier this week by Republicans would reduce the pandemic unemployment benefit bonus from $600 to $200 weekly. Fortune reports, this amount would transition after two months to cover 70% of previous income for the remainder of the year. More than 30 million Americans were receiving these additional unemployment benefits prior to their expiration last week. States have expressed concern about the amount of time it would take to reconfigure systems to distribute a percentage-based payment.
Medicaid enrollment began increasing in March, as the economic effects of the COVID pandemic began to be felt across the United States. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, enrollment has not been as high as initially predicted. Enrollment is, however, expected to continue rising throughout the summer as people begin accessing care they previously delayed. Medicaid enrollment has also risen due to a requirement that prevents states from cutting coverage if they receive the temporary increase in the Medicaid federal funding match.
The number of individuals expected to lose employer-sponsored health insurance due to COVID is more than 10 million. Health Payer Intelligence reports that is less than many expected, primarily because many low-income people experiencing job loss did not have employer-sponsored health plans prior to the pandemic. Individuals who find themselves without health insurance are expected to join a family member’s plan, enroll in Medicaid, purchase an individual policy, or remain uninsured.
Socialization and enriching activities are particularly important to senior citizens experiencing physical or cognitive decline. The Times Herald-Record spotlights an adult day care’s pivot to virtual programming. While they cannot recreate their prior activities directly, the organization is offering a telehealth model that includes wellness checks, education, activities, and opportunities for seniors to chat with their friends from the program.
The Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed to help speed up the development, manufacturing, and distribution of potential COVID vaccines in May. Government Executive reports last week a bipartisan group of lawmakers requested the Government Accountability Office conduct periodic reviews of the effort. The reviews would be nonpartisan, help ensure funds are used efficiently, and provide additional scientific and project management expertise.