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.
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.
A recently published Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief projects Medicaid enrollment growth through the end of fiscal year 2022. The brief examines how much of the enrollment growth can be attributed to baseline, or expected enrollment increases without the pandemic, and how much can be attributed to the continuous coverage requirement during the PHE. The brief explores the costs tied to PHE-related enrollment growth, estimates how much fiscal relief was provided to states through the enhanced federal Medicaid match rate (FMAP), and describes scenarios for enrollment going forward. The issue brief estimates that the fiscal relief from the enhanced FMAP will exceed the costs of the additional enrollment in every state, though the degree to which that is the case varies by state.
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.
As many as 16 million people are expected to lose Medicaid once the COVID-19 public health emergency and the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement end. One-third of these could be eligible for ACA marketplace plans. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, Sabrina Corlette and Maanasa Kona of the Georgetown Center on Health Insurance Reforms discuss strategies that marketplaces can deploy to help reduce the potential coverage loss and help consumers make a smooth transition
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.
The state’s Office of Superintendent of Insurance recently notified its carriers that a broker compensation structure that pays differing commissions for open and special enrollments violates state nondiscrimination provisions and constitutes an unfair or deceptive practice under the state’s unfair trade practices statute.
This toolkit highlights opportunities for states to leverage managed care plans to support unwinding the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. Close collaboration between states and managed care plans will be essential to ensuring eligible individuals retain coverage in Medicaid/CHIP and easing transitions to the Marketplace. The toolkit, updated as of April 26, 2022, features guidance released by CMS for states on working with managed care plans.
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 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.
Once the public health emergency ends, state Medicaid agencies will need to recommence Medicaid eligibility redeterminations and renewals. As a result, up to 16 million people are projected to lose their Medicaid coverage, and an estimated one-third of these individuals will be eligible for subsidized coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces. Whether a state’s Medicaid agency moves swiftly or slowly to process eligibility redeterminations, the commercial insurance market–and particularly the ACA Marketplaces–could experience a significant growth in enrollment. This issue brief identifies several areas in which state departments of insurance (DOIs) may want to coordinate with other agencies or external stakeholders, issue new regulations or guidance, and establish means for minimizing gaps in coverage or access to services.
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.
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.
A new Urban Institute report includes updated projections of Medicaid coverage and costs following the end of the public health emergency (PHE). The report builds upon a previous analysis on the rise in Medicaid enrollment at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly attributable to the continuous coverage requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In their new brief, Urban projects Medicaid enrollment for the population under age 65 and federal and state Medicaid spending for 2022 and 2023, assuming the PHE is extended through the first, second, or third quarters of 2022. The authors find that the longer the PHE lasts, the greater the potential number of people losing Medicaid coverage over the 14 months after the PHE ends: 12.9 million if it expires after the first quarter of 2022, 14.4 million if it expires after the second quarter, and 15.8 million if it expires after the third quarter.
On March 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a State Health Official (SHO) letter, “Promoting Continuity of Coverage and Distributing Eligibility and Enrollment Workload in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Program (BHP) Upon Conclusion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” This expert perspective summarizes the highly anticipated guidance, which clarifies CMS expectations for state Medicaid and CHIP agencies as they prepare to process outstanding eligibility and enrollment actions when the federal Medicaid continuous coverage requirement ends.
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.
The Tracking Medicaid Enrollment Growth During COVID-19 Databook provides a comprehensive, detailed look at Medicaid enrollment trends to-date. Using Medicaid enrollment data from over 40 states, the Databook provides a comprehensive, detailed look at Medicaid enrollment trends from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic through January 2021. The Databook provides enrollment detail by state across four eligibility categories: expansion adults, children (including those enrolled in CHIP), non-expansion adults, and aged, blind, and disabled individuals. It also compares enrollment trends across expansion and non-expansion states. While variations in states reporting mean that the enrollment numbers in this report are not necessarily comparable across states (and should not be summed across states), the data reported do allow states and others to track enrollment trends. As a companion to the Databook, Manatt Health authored an Overview that summarizes key findings from an analysis of the Databook.
Medicaid agencies are required to send written notices to enrollees as they begin their redetermination process after the continuous coverage requirement ends. This document contains template notices designed for use by state Medicaid agencies in their efforts to communicate with enrollees. State Medicaid agencies can customize these documents by editing them to input their state seal or agency logo and other state-specific information. These notices incorporate recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and reflect insights from qualitative testing with Medicaid enrollees during focus groups in February 2022.
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 Wednesday, November 10 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar that provided an overview of strategies for states seeking to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage when the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement ends. States will be resuming eligibility and enrollment activities for all enrollees in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and as part of their planning, states have an opportunity to retain coverage gains experienced over the pandemic period by taking steps to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep Medicaid/CHIP coverage, and those who are eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage are transitioned and enrolled. Experts from Manatt Health and McKinsey & Company discussed how states can prepare now by deploying strategies to update enrollee contact information, and make other eligibility and enrollment technology changes to better serve their residents.
Following the expiration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE), states will resume normal eligibility and enrollment activities for all enrollees in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The volume of expected redetermination activity at the end of the PHE is unprecedented. This issue brief reviews state Medicaid/CHIP agency data and information technology (IT) system “table stakes”—strategies that will have the highest impact for states seeking to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage when the PHE continuous coverage requirements end. If adopted, these strategies will also enable states to dramatically improve Medicaid/CHIP enrollment and coverage retention in the longer-term for people eligible for government subsidized health coverage.
At the end of the public health emergency (PHE), people currently enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are at risk of losing their coverage unless state Medicaid/CHIP agencies take steps to update enrollee mailing addresses and other contact information. This expert perspective examines the information technology system, policy, and operational strategies states can consider to update key enrollee contact information to ensure eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage at the end of the PHE.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.
On December 22, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This issue brief provides a high-level summary of the CMS guidance related to: (1) conducting redeterminations for Medicaid enrollees who were continuously enrolled; (2) terminating, or extending where appropriate, temporary flexibilities; and (3) developing a consumer and provider communication strategy.