What to Do if Your Medicaid Expires

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If you missed the deadline to renew your Medicaid coverage, you can reapply for Medicaid to get benefits again. Unlike regular health insurance, you can apply for Medicaid at any time of the year. That's because Medicaid does not have a limited open enrollment period.

But if you're no longer eligible for Medicaid, the easiest way to get coverage is to buy an Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare," health insurance plan from HealthCare.gov or your state's health insurance marketplace.

How to renew your Medicaid

You can usually renew your Medicaid online, over the phone, by mail or in person. Keep in mind that if you renew online, you'll have to go through your state's Medicaid website and not Medicaid.gov.

Make sure to have the following information on hand before you start the renewal process.

  • Total household income
  • Dates of birth for everyone in your household
  • Social Security numbers (SSNs) for all applicants
  • Immigration information (if applicable)

Some states may require more or different information, such as a tax return or pay stub along with your renewal forms.

Try to renew your Medicaid before it expires to avoid a gap in your coverage.

When does Medicaid expire?

Medicaid expires every year. However, when you can renew is different for everyone and depends on when you started getting Medicaid benefits.

You should get a notice in the mail before you can renew. This letter will have instructions that will guide you through the Medicaid renewal process. It's a good idea to get in touch with your state's Medicaid agency online or over the phone to make sure it has your most recent address on file.

It's important to remember that Medicaid is run by both federal and state governments. Certain rules and procedures will differ depending on where you live.

Eligibility requirements also vary by state. If you live in one of the 10 states that don't have expanded Medicaid, then to qualify for Medicaid you must have a low income and meet a secondary eligibility requirement such as being pregnant, being disabled or having children under 19.

States without expanded Medicaid

  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

These differences between states mean that you may have a more difficult time renewing or reapplying for Medicaid depending on where you live.

Obamacare vs. Medicaid

If you're no longer eligible for Medicaid, your best option is usually to buy a plan through HealthCare.gov or your state health insurance marketplace. Even if you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for what are called marketplace subsidies, which can drastically lower the amount you pay for health insurance.

Four out of five Americans can buy a health plan that costs $10 per month or less after marketplace subsidies.

Also, you can qualify for additional help if you earn a low income and buy a Silver health plan. The extra subsidies, also called cost-sharing reductions, help cover the part of your medical bill that you're responsible for paying. They're available if you make between $15,060 and $37,650 as a single person or $31,200 and $78,000 as a family of four.

To sign up for a marketplace plan, people sometimes have to wait until the open enrollment period, which typically runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15.

But if you have a qualifying event like losing health coverage, you can apply for a marketplace plan using a special enrollment period two months before or two months after the event. Plus, between March 31, 2023, and July 31, 2024, you can apply for a marketplace plan anytime after losing Medicaid or CHIP.

Why are millions losing Medicaid coverage?

More than 16 million people lost Medicaid coverage from March 2023 to February 2024 because of the end of special COVID-19 eligibility rules.

During the pandemic, you could stay on Medicaid even if you no longer qualified for benefits. That also meant you didn't have to reapply for Medicaid every year.

These pandemic-era rules ended on March 31, 2023. Since then, states have resumed normal Medicaid renewal processes. Some people have lost coverage because they're no longer eligible for Medicaid, possibly because they make too much money or they don't meet another qualifying condition such as being pregnant or having minor children.

However, 70% of people who lost their Medicaid coverage had procedural reasons, like failing to file the correct paperwork on time. Even if you're still eligible for Medicaid, you can lose your benefits if you:

  • Didn't submit your renewal application
  • Submitted your renewal application late
  • Filled out your application incorrectly
  • Failed to update your address after moving

Fortunately, all four of these problems are easily fixable. Although your renewal paperwork has a deadline, you can reapply for Medicaid coverage at any time of the year. Keep in mind that you won't have coverage until your Medicaid application has been approved.

Medicaid fast facts

  • Roughly one-third of Medicaid renewal applications were denied from March 2023 to February 2024.
  • Some states are letting more people go from their Medicaid rolls than others. For example, Texas has disenrolled 61% of those on Medicaid compared to just 13% in Maine according to KFF, an industry group.
  • Seventy percent of people who lost Medicaid coverage either didn't renew their coverage or made an error during the renewal process. Mistakes such as late renewal submissions, not updating your address with your state's Medicaid agency or failing to update your paperwork are the leading causes of lost Medicaid coverage.

Frequently asked questions

What should you do if your Medicaid expires?

You can reapply for Medicaid if your coverage has already expired. However, it's a good idea to renew your Medicaid benefits before they expire to avoid a period when you're not insured.

If you don't qualify for Medicaid anymore, consider signing up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare," marketplace health plan.

When does Medicaid expire?

Medicaid expires every year, although the exact expiration date is different for each person since your renewal date depends on when you first signed up. You can contact your state's Medicaid agency online, over the phone or in person to find out when your benefits are up for renewal.

What is the monthly income limit for Medicaid?

In 2024, the Medicaid is usually monthly income limit for $1,732 for a single person ($20,783 per year) or $3,588 for a family of four ($43,056 per year). Medicaid income limits change each year to reflect changes in the federal poverty level.

Sources and methodology

Information about Medicaid income limits is from KFF and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Medicaid unwinding statistics are from KFF, and Medicaid renewal requirements were taken from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Editorial note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.