At the end of the federal public health emergency, states will need to redetermine eligibility for nearly all Medicaid enrollees in the largest healthcare event since the Affordable Care Act. In order to avoid potential coverage losses, states will need to communicate with enrollees and other stakeholders about the actions they need to take to keep individuals enrolled in Medicaid or transition to another form of health coverage. One way that states are promoting transparency in their communications and planning efforts is through the public release of their unwinding operational plans. This expert perspective highlights several states that have made their unwinding operational plans publicly available as well as examples of states’ ongoing communication efforts, including outreach campaigns to Medicaid enrollees, strategies for collaborating with stakeholders, and collaborative initiatives within Marketplace states.
Kristen Challacombe, Deputy Director of Business Operations, appeared on the latest episode of “AHCCCS Explains” (a video series about the state’s Medicaid program) to explain what AHCCCS members can do to prepare for the end of the public health emergency.
This expert perspective focuses on strengthening communications to enrollees once the federal public health emergency is lifted and the continuous enrollment requirement ends to ensure that those who are eligible maintain their coverage, and those who are ineligible are transitioned to a Marketplace plan or other insurance. The intention is to help states develop a timeline within their communications plans to coordinate and sequence outreach to these consumer groups. Critical in this effort to reduce churn will be effective coordination with stakeholders. This expert perspective outlines outreach strategies and tactics state Medicaid agencies and State-Based Marketplaces can implement to effectively inform enrollees what is happening and what actions they may need to take to stay insured.
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System posted a summary of its Public Health Emergency Operational Unwinding Plan to inform stakeholders of the state’s plan for reinstating regular enrollment and operational procedures when the PHE ends. The summary and full operational plan are available on the Preparing for the End of COVID-19: Return to Normal Renewals webpage along with fliers, messaging toolkits, and other resources to help communities prepare for the end of the PHE.
The Department of Health Care Services released a request for information (RFI) seeking an experienced communications/advertising vendor to implement a broad and targeted education and outreach communications campaign for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) enrollees during and after the end of the COVID-19 PHE. Responses to the RFI are due by August 19, 2022.
The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing has created a toolkit to provide community partners, stakeholders, and advocates with messaging and resources to encourage Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus members to update their contact information in advance of the end of the public health emergency.
This expert perspective, the second in a series about maintaining continuity of coverage and care during the public health emergency unwinding, identifies strategies for state-based Marketplaces (SBMs), in partnership with Medicaid agencies, departments of insurance, consumer assisters, and participating insurers, to help maintain continuity of care. The first expert perspective noted strategies that state Medicaid agencies can use to mitigate disruptions to coverage and care. A third expert perspective will discuss strategies for the SBMs and their partners to help ensure continuity of coverage.
This expert perspective, the first in a two-part series, outlines strategies state Medicaid agencies can take to identify people with high health needs and provide them with additional support to retain or transition their health coverage in order to maintain access to essential healthcare services when the current Medicaid continuous coverage requirement ends. A second expert perspective will identify complementary strategies state-based marketplaces and departments of insurance can implement to help these individuals transition without gaps in coverage or care.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new tool states can use to further prepare for the eventual end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and return to normal Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment operations. Specifically, this tool highlights the ten fundamental actions states need to complete to prepare for unwinding when the Medicaid continuous enrollment requirement ends.
On May 17, 2022, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released the Medi-Cal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Operational Unwinding Plan. The two primary purposes of this document are to: 1) describe DHCS’ approach to unwinding or making permanent temporarily flexibilities implemented across the Medi-Cal program during the PHE; and 2) describe DHCS’ approach to resuming normal Medi-Cal eligibility operations following the end of the PHE.
This page provides communications resources designed to support states as they prepare for the various stages of work needed to inform stakeholders and consumers about the upcoming end of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. The end of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement presents states with tremendous opportunities to keep individuals enrolled in Medicaid or transition to another form of health coverage.
On May 3, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened a public comment period for feedback on a letter submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. The letter requests the FCC’s opinion on the use of text messages and automated calls to enrollees as states resume regular operations at the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This expert perspective provides model comments to inform and support state responses to the FCC’s public comment period.
This toolkit provides a communications planning guide designed to support state Medicaid agencies as they prepare for the upcoming end of the continuous coverage requirement. It outlines phases of planning to organize state efforts.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is preparing for the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) by asking all SoonerCare members to update their contact information and documentation.
Louisiana Medicaid has launched a phone campaign to encourage its members to update their contact information.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services created a webpage to host information on the unwinding of the federal Medicaid continuous coverage requirement, including sample member notices.
CA DHCS created a page on the unwinding of the federal Medicaid continuous coverage requirement, promoting a coordinated, phased communications plan to reach enrollees with messages across multiple channels using trusted messengers. The page includes a link to their Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage Toolkit.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new tool for states to utilize as they prepare to return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations after the COVID-19 public health emergency. The tool provides states with a summary of best & promising practices gleaned from discussions that CMS had with Medicaid agency leadership from each state, DC and three U.S. territories. The tool includes information on strategies states are implementing related to outreach, enrollee communications, renewals, updating enrollee contact information and addressing workforce issues to support their preparation for returning to normal eligibility and enrollment operations after the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services created an unwinding toolkit for healthcare plans, stakeholders, and government agency partners on preparing for the end of the public health emergency. The toolkit contains information and resources to guide stakeholders and advocates as they assist Medicaid members with the end of the public health emergency.
The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services announced information and resources for partners in preparing for the end of the public health emergency in the March edition of their Partner Points newsletter. The newsletter included a toolkit to guide stakeholders and advocates as they assist Medicaid members with the end of the public health emergency.
A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families presents a snapshot of actions states are taking to prepare for the lifting of the continuous enrollment requirement, as well as key state Medicaid enrollment and renewal procedures in place during the PHE.
A new Urban Institute issue brief, co-authored by researchers from Georgetown University, examines preparations for the end of the PHE in 11 states with SBMs. The brief identifies major challenges state officials are facing and best practices for keeping people in coverage that could be adopted by the federally facilitated Marketplace and SBMs.
NY State of Health, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, has launched a new campaign to encourage consumers to “stay connected” with NY State of Health by signing up for text messages so they’ll know when it’s time to renew their health insurance. The ads also encourage New Yorkers to update their information in their NY State of Health accounts. After the federal PHE ends, consumers will once again need to take action to keep their coverage. This ad campaign is the first step NY State of Health is taking to connect with consumers regarding this change and help them avoid a coverage gap.
As state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies develop their strategies for unwinding the federal Medicaid continuous coverage requirement under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, many are looking to text messaging as a mechanism for outreach to their Medicaid and CHIP enrollees and communicating important information. This expert perspective describes states’ authority to send text messages and requirements for obtaining consent. The expert perspective also contains sample consent language to include in the Medicaid/CHIP application as well as template text messages.
On November 24, CMS released a “punch list” of strategies states and the US territories can adopt to maintain coverage of eligible individuals as they return to normal operations after the end of the public health emergency. The strategies are organized around seven topics areas: (1) strengthening renewal processes; (2) updating mailing addresses; (3) improving consumer outreach, communication, and assistance; (4) promoting seamless coverage transitions; (5) improving coverage retention; (6) addressing strains on the eligibility and enrollment workforce; and (7) enhancing oversight of eligibility and enrollment operations. In this resource, CMS also flagged strategies they expect to have the biggest impact on mitigating coverage losses.
On Wednesday, April 29 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar, State Strategies to Support Medicaid/CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment in Response to COVID-19. Many states are experiencing an increase in the volume of Medicaid applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. It is important for states to understand the policy and operational strategies they can use to ensure that people who are eligible for the Medicaid program can apply, enroll and start receiving benefits as quickly as possible. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health reviewed strategies states can use to manage and process an increased number of Medicaid applications, and the federal authorities that permit states to do so. Communications experts from GMMB reviewed strategies for messaging to new and existing enrollees. As a companion to this webinar, SHVS has also published a Medicaid COVID-19 Messaging toolkit.
On Thursday, January 21 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health discussed the sub-regulatory guidance and the implications for states, in light of the recent public health emergency renewal by Secretary Azar. The webinar reviewed the expectations laid out in the guidance related to timelines, consumer communications, and fair hearing processes for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for those who have had their coverage continuously maintained as a condition of receiving the temporary 6.2 percent FMAP increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additionally, presenters discussed the expected processes and timelines for terminating, or making permanent where allowable, temporary federal flexibilities that were obtained.
Updated Guidance Related to Planning for the Resumption of Normal State Medicaid, CHIP, and BHP Operations Upon Conclusion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Guidance on planning for the Resumption of Normal State Medicaid, CHIP, and BHP Operations Upon Conclusion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
CMS Expanding Coverage Under Medicaid and CHIP: Materials developed by the Expanding Coverage MAC Learning Collaborative for states.