State’s Disenrollment Numbers Not Among the Nation’s Worst, but 45,000 Kids Still Dropped from Health Insurance Program

May 2, 2024

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-361-1288 (direct)

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—New Mexico, along with other states that saw a precipitous drop in children enrolled in Medicaid, should do whatever they can to quickly re-enroll those children – most of whom are likely still eligible for the free health insurance program – to prevent gaps in coverage. That was among the conclusions in a report released today by Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Children and Families (CCF).

The report, “Child Medicaid Disenrollment Data Shows Wide Variation in State Performance as Continuous Coverage Pandemic Protections Lifted,” determined that more than 4 million children across the nation lost their Medicaid or CHIP coverage over the course of 2023, as the continuous coverage provisions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic expired. Texas lost by far the most children, with more than 1 million children losing coverage in that state alone. The loss in Texas, combined with disenrollments in Florida, Georgia and California, accounted for half of all children who were disenrolled in what was referred to as the Medicaid “unwinding.”

“New Mexico had a good plan in place for handling the unwinding, but wasn’t able to implement it as expected,” said Gabrielle Uballez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which has worked with CCF on Medicaid coverage for children. “We need to ensure that we reach out to these families and get those children covered as soon as possible.”

New Mexico lost 45,408 children during the unwinding, for a 12% drop. The national average was a drop of 10%, according to the report. New Mexico had a high rate of procedural disenrollments, meaning that most of the children who were dropped are probably still eligible for coverage, but that the paperwork for their continued coverage was not completed or processed in time to prevent their disenrollment.

Medicaid is the single largest health insurer for children in New Mexico, which means many of the state’s pediatricians rely on Medicaid in order to keep their practices open.

“We’re seeing families come into our offices who are unaware that they’ve lost coverage for their kids,” said Dr. Melissa Mason, a member of the NM Pediatric Society board of directors and the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Kids need to have their well-child visits and scheduled immunizations. It’s unfortunate to see parents paying out of pocket for their kids’ prescription meds or, worse yet, kids being unable to get those meds, because of a procedural disenrollment,” she added.

The Medicaid and CHIP programs are both housed with the state’s Human Services Division (HSD), but that is set to change soon. By July 1, HSD will become the Health Care Authority. “We applaud the state for creating the Health Care Authority,” said Uballez. “With the new Authority, the state is moving toward streamlining enrollment, which will make a difference for our state’s children and families accessing the health care they need and deserve,” she added.

“Medicaid enrollment is open year round, so we urge families with children already enrolled to confirm their enrollment to keep accessing necessary healthcare like well-child visits and immunizations,” Uballez said. “The state must ensure families can reach eligibility staff, even if that means offering extended hours and fully staffing operators at local offices and through the call system.”

The data on coverage loss due to unwinding is at

The full report is available at the CCF’s website at


New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p);