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Most people have retained Medicaid coverage in Maine, according to health department data

New data from the Department of Health and Human Services show that only about 4,000 Mainers have unenrolled from Medicaid since the coronavirus public emergency ended this spring. Advocates say that figure is a good sign that people aren't going without coverage.

Medicaid programs were allowed to keep people enrolled without renewal during the coronavirus public health emergency to prevent a loss of coverage. That provision ended this spring, and Maine began reviewing coverage in April.

So far, most people reviewed by the department have retained coverage. But of the 4,000 who lost it, about 23% were unenrolled for procedural reasons, like not responding to renewal notices. That's less than the national average of 75 percent, according to the health care policy nonprofit KFF.

Ann Woloson is the executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. She says Maine's numbers are a sign that outreach to make sure that people either know to renew or find other coverage is working.

"They're taking extra steps to make sure someone is eligible or not. If they're no longer eligible, they are taking additional steps to link them to other kinds of coverage options," Woloson said.

The review of Mainecare eligibility is expected to take up to a year.

Reporter Caitlin Andrews came to Maine Public in 2023 after nearly eight years in print journalism. She hails from New Hampshire originally.