When the earnings of low-income consumers change over the course of the year, a family can risk losing their health coverage if they shift between eligibility for Medicaid and eligibility for coverage on the health insurance exchanges that were set up under the Affordable Care Act.
Researchers call this “churning.” And it’s not new to Medicaid. But Obamacare added millions of new customers whose incomes hover near the Medicaid line. Health officials are concerned about how well the insurance marketplaces can handle the larger volume of customers moving between the two types of coverage.
The Affordable Care Act aims to minimize churning by making the state marketplaces a one-stop shop for both types of coverage. That’s still a work in progress. But some states are ahead of the curve in implementing strategies to help ensure that people don’t fall through the cracks — or have their coverage lapse while they’re switching plans.
Last year, when Jillian Naccache took in a roommate at her house in Bellingham, Wash., the extra money pushed her income above 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,105 for an
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