New NAMI Resource to Help Navigate Upcoming Changes in Medicaid for People with Mental Illness

Mar 31, 2023

A pandemic-era law that kept children and adults continuously covered by Medicaid will gradually end beginning April 1, 2023. After that time, people enrolled in Medicaid will be at a greater risk of losing coverage of vital mental health services. NAMI has created a resource with tips for helping people ensure that they can have continued access to health insurance and mental health services during this “unwinding period.” 
Medicaid is a critical lifeline for many people with mental illness. It is the nation’s largest payer of mental health and substance use condition services and provides health coverage to more than one in four adults with serious mental illness, and over half the nation’s children. Through Medicaid coverage, people with mental health conditions can access vital services like therapy, inpatient treatment, and prescription medications. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the Administration took important steps to maintain Medicaid coverage so children and adults could continue accessing health care, however, that policy was time-limited.
While the number of people who may be disenrolled from Medicaid during the unwinding period is highly uncertain, it is estimated that millions will lose coverage, many due to procedural barriers and errors. People who have moved may not receive renewal notices; people with low people with low-English proficiency and people with disabilities might struggle accessing information in needed formats; and people might not be able to respond to eligibility requests in a timely manner. A recent study found that this will disproportionately impact Black, Latino and Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander enrollees, who are more likely to lose coverage during Medicaid unwinding, despite being eligible for Medicaid.
Access to mental health care is critical for treating mental health conditions, and NAMI is committed to helping ensure that people can retain their health insurance coverage or transition to new coverage during this period.
NAMI’s new resource, “Helpful Steps for Keeping Medicaid Coverage in 2023,” is available here.
For more information on state-by-state notice and termination timelines, see here. For more information on state-by-state Medicaid unwinding resources, see here

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).