CMS has confirmed that the termination of the national emergency does not impact the planned May 11 termination of the public health emergency (PHE), any associated PHE unwinding plans, or any existing 1135 waivers.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These FAQs have been prepared jointly by the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury. These FAQs answer questions from stakeholders to help people understand the law and benefit from it, as intended.
Federal PHE renewal
Building on existing CMS guidance, the State Health Official letter details the requirements that states must comply with in order to receive the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage; clarifies expectations for states to comply with the Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace reporting elements required by the CAA; and reviews implications of the CAA on select COVID-19 public health emergency-related flexibilities and authorities.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a document that provides detailed description of the configuration/implementation plan, testing plan, and testing results that states will need to submit when the continuous enrollment condition ends. This document aims help states understand systems readiness artifacts that are routinely submitted to CMS’ State Systems team during IT project and certification reviews. This release includes an FAQ, and also points to previously released systems guidance (Streamlined Certification Guidance, Testing and Automation resources, etc.).
CMS released an updated deck on Strategic Approaches to Engaging Managed Care Plans to Maximize Continuity of Coverage as States Resume Normal Eligibility and Enrollment Operations in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), following the end of the COVID-19 Medicaid continuous enrollment requirement. The updated deck provides new examples and scenarios of ways health plans can engage with states and beneficiaries to support continuity of coverage during unwinding.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation published a report that provides current HHS projections of the number of individuals predicted to lose Medicaid coverage at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) due to a change in eligibility or due to administrative churning. The report also predicts eligibility for alternative insurance coverage among those predicted to lose Medicaid eligibility and highlights legislative and administrative actions that can help minimize disruptions in coverage, including the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides enhanced Marketplace subsidies for three years that will benefit some individuals leaving Medicaid at the end of the PHE.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new resource highlighting the states that have obtained CMS approval for various section 1902(e)(14) waivers to support “unwinding” from the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. Among the 20 states with approved waivers, 70 percent have obtained flexibility to (1) conduct ex-parte renewals for individuals with no income and no data returned, and (2) accept updated enrollee contact information from managed care plans. Of note, one state (Alabama) has been granted “off-menu” authority to renew Medicaid eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families participants.
CMS posted an FAQ that says issuers that reduce or eliminate agent and broker commissions for enrollments through special enrollment periods (SEPs) are violating the guaranteed issue provisions of the ACA and doing so would constitute a discriminatory marketing practice.
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.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a resource that reminds states of their obligation to continue to meet federal requirements related to eligibility and enrollment in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Basic Health Program (BHP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency unwinding period. This tool includes information for states on the requirements for eligibility renewals and redeterminations, application processing, fair hearings, coordination with the Marketplace, and other processes. Additionally, this resource highlights temporary options available to states during the unwinding period to facilitate eligibility and enrollment processing and retain coverage for eligible individuals.
HHS Secretary Becerra and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure sent a letter to governors discussing the flexibilities made available to states to support the unwinding of the continuous coverage requirement. The letter also includes a list of resources that HHS has issued to assist states with redeterminations, and reminds states that they should be putting in place processes to ensure coverage for Medicaid enrollees when the PHE ends.
On April 22, 2022, CMS released a proposed rule that would create a Medicare special enrollment period (SEP) to be timed with the end of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. CMS is proposing the SEP for individuals enrolled in Medicaid when they initially qualify for Medicare who do not enroll in Medicare coverage when they turn 65, resulting in a coverage gap if they are then determined ineligible for Medicaid coverage following the end of the continuous coverage requirement. The proposed SEP would allow individuals to enroll after termination of Medicaid coverage following the end of the federal public health emergency (PHE) without being subject to a late enrollment penalty.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the public health emergency as of April 16, extending it to July 15, 2022.
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 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 strategic approaches for processing Medicaid fair hearings as states resume normal eligibility and enrollment operations. Contained in the tool are steps a state may want to take to assess their fair hearing process and capacity, strategies to address anticipated fair hearing volume, and how to request authority from CMS to implement a mitigation strategy if needed.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released additional templates and resources to support state reporting around enrollment and renewal efforts when the federal public health emergency (PHE) concludes. The resources include 1) a “Renewal Distribution Report” form in which states will be required to summarize their renewal plans, with a focus on mitigating inappropriate coverage loss during the unwinding period and 2) an “Unwinding Eligibility and Enrollment Data Reporting” Excel workbook and specifications document, which aims to support states in reporting on certain metrics around timely application processing, renewal initiation and completion, reason for termination, and fair hearings. CMS also previewed that states will eventually report on these metrics on a monthly basis.
CMS released a State Health Official letter outlining guidance to ensure states are well-prepared to initiate eligibility renewals for all individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP within 12 months of the eventual end of the PHE and to complete renewals within 14 months. The new guidance provides reporting tools as well as an eligibility and enrollment tool.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the public health emergency as of January 16, extending it to April 15, 2022.
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.
Federal PHE Renewal
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
On January 6, 2021, CMS released an updated FAQ document that incorporates all eight sets of COVID-19 FAQs into one, comprehensive FAQ document.
CMS Expanding Coverage Under Medicaid and CHIP: Materials developed by the Expanding Coverage MAC Learning Collaborative for states.