Helping Consumers Navigate Medicaid, the Marketplace, and Employer Coverage
Tara Straw, Manatt Health and Julie Bataille, GMMB
The 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act separated the Medicaid continuous coverage provision from the COVID-19 public health emergency and provided a fixed end date of March 31, 2023 for the Medicaid continuous coverage guarantee. Many consumers will find the relationship between Medicaid, the marketplace, and employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) to be more complicated than ever in 2023 as the unwinding of the continuous coverage requirement begins. Roughly 18 million people are expected to lose Medicaid coverage of which 9.5 million are expected to enroll in ESI. Much of the focus of Medicaid unwinding planning in states and the federal government has been on helping eligible people keep Medicaid coverage and steering the millions of people losing Medicaid eligibility toward the health insurance marketplace. Less attention has been devoted to the millions of people who are expected to be eligible for ESI when their Medicaid coverage ends. This issue brief discusses how state Medicaid agencies, state-based marketplaces, labor departments, and employers can play critical roles in helping people understand and navigate their coverage options.
To support communications efforts during the unwinding, SHVS has also producedsample messaging for state departments of labor to share with the employer community which explains the unwinding and coverage options for employees.
In this new expert perspective series, State Health and Value Strategies will highlight examples of the work states are engaging in to prepare for and operationalize the unwinding of the continuous coverage requirement to minimize coverage losses. This new series aims to showcase strategies that other states may be interested in adopting and highlight how states are leveraging federal flexibilities.
The unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement represents the largest nationwide coverage transition since the Affordable Care Act, with significant health equity implications. Given the intense focus on coverage transitions during the unwinding, some states have initiated plans to publish a data dashboard to monitor progress. To date, five states—Iowa, Minnesota, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia—have publicly released some type of unwinding data (this includes states reporting unwinding data in both a dashboard and a static format, but not states with pre-existing enrollment dashboards that don’t specifically identify unwinding cohorts). SHADAC will update this expert perspective as additional dashboards go live.
To maximize efforts to maintain coverage, state Medicaid agencies and Marketplaces can now leverage digital channels as part of their overall outreach and communications efforts. Rapidly evolving changes in consumer media consumption habits as well as shifts in digital channels, and the ability to leverage data sources, enables granular audience targeting and efficient use of resources. These can be incorporated into an overall integrated outreach and education campaign to maximize renewals and coverage retention.