BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – On Sunday COVID-19 benefits will no longer be available and it could put many people in jeopardy of losing their healthcare coverage.

Thousands of people throughout the state are at risk of losing Medicaid. COVID emergency benefits will end this weekend. But health regulators say there are options available to help avoid gaps in coverage.

“The Department of Health is going to be reviewing approximately 168,000 individuals every month, beginning in May, all the way through the beginning of 2024,” explained Vicki Dufrene, Director of the Louisiana Health Insurance Program.

Medicaid renewals are back for the first time in three years. That means if you’re enrolled in the program you have to update your contact information and household income here.

“If they lose their benefit, the first thing that they’re going to notice is that their income is going down because now Medicare will be taking a Part B premium out of their check,” claimed Donna Dugue, Insurance Advisor for Fussell Group Insurance.

Enrollees will be mailed a renewal packet that must be signed and returned by the deadline noted on your form. The renewal process will determine if someone is still eligible for Medicaid.

“Some people may not receive. They may be done is what we call ‘X Party’ or done automatically,” Dufrene continued.

Health officials said the worst thing that can happen is you show up either to the emergency room or a primary care office and you are not covered.

Thousands of residents in the capital region are affected. Prompting the effort to get the word out that help is available.

If you’re no longer eligible there are affordable plans too.

“There are still going to be Medicaid programs out there, but there may be some people, again, based on income and our assets that will not qualify for Medicaid. And they can look to an insurance agent or a navigator to get into the or the Affordable Care Act or as some people call it, Obamacare,” explained Dufrene.

If you are in need of assistance, they urge you to head here or contact the Louisiana Health Department.