States of Unwinding: August 4, 2023
As unwinding progresses, states are trying out different communication and outreach tactics. Pennsylvania launched a TV segment featuring the secretary of Human Services and the Marketplace executive director which will continue to air for the next six months and will be available for streaming online. During a recent stakeholder meeting, Indiana highlighted a new outreach video and provided a walkthrough of the state’s unwinding dashboard.
Additional states are leveraging federal flexibilities and taking advantage of new strategies announced by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) in June, 2023 to prevent procedural terminations. Minnesota and Vermont will take-up the flexibility announced by CMS to delay procedural terminations for enrollees by a month, while Michigan plans to take advantage of this strategy through June, 2024.
States are also taking steps to make information about the unwinding public. Following the publication by CMS of state mitigation strategies, D.C. shared information about the strategies it has adopted to reach compliance with federal renewal requirements. As a reminder, SHVS has created a one-stop resource page to support states as they plan for and implement unwinding.
Coordinating Unwinding Communications and Outreach
Massachusetts Medicaid and the Marketplace are co-hosting a webinar. MassHealth and the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s official health insurance Marketplace, are hosting a webinar “Keeping or Getting Coverage through MassHealth and the Health Connector” on August 8. The webinar, intended for Medicaid enrollees, will review how to report any changes to MassHealth, where to get help with completing a renewal and how to get help enrolling into Marketplace coverage.
Pennsylvania launched a TV segment featuring the secretary of Human Services and the Marketplace executive director. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh and Pennie Executive Director Devon Trolley recently discussed Medicaid renewals, health insurance enrollment, and answered questions live on air during the “Stay Covered PA” program hosted by ABC27. Initially broadcast live across five stations in Pennsylvania, “Stay Covered PA” will continue to air for the next six months and is also available for streaming online. During the program, Secretary Arkoosh and Executive Director Trolley talked about how their agencies are working together to support Pennsylvanians through recent federal changes to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) renewal requirements so that they can stay covered.
Educating Employers About Transitions to Employer-Sponsored-Insurance
Colorado created a flier to educate employers about the end of the continuous coverage requirement. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) updated their stakeholder communications toolkit to include a flier for employers. HCPF is encouraging employers across the state to proactively remind their employees about any health coverage options their organization may offer and how to apply.
Leveraging Federal Flexibilities and Improving Processes
Michigan is leveraging the flexibility provided by CMS to delay procedural terminations for one month. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that Medicaid enrollees with upcoming deadlines for returning renewal forms will have an extra month to submit paperwork to avoid the loss of healthcare coverage due to not responding. Previously, MDHHS gave Medicaid enrollees who had been asked to return forms by June 30 an additional month, with a new deadline of July 31 before they would be disqualified for not responding. That approach was successful with approximately 15,000 additional renewals in July and, as a result, MDHHS decided to apply that strategy going forward to the first year of eligibility renewals following the end of the continuous coverage requirement.
Minnesota announced it will delay procedural terminations again for one month. The Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that Minnesotans whose Medical Assistance renewal forms were originally due July 31 will have an extra month to turn in their paperwork. Minnesota is making use of additional strategies provided by CMS to preserve coverage. DHS offered a similar extension to people whose Medical Assistance forms were originally due June 30. The state and its partners have been using the additional time to redouble outreach efforts and help more people through the renewal process.
Vermont is extending the timeline for enrollees to submit renewal forms by an additional month due to recent flooding. The Department of Vermont Health Access, which administers Vermont Medicaid and Vermont Health Connect, announced that Medicaid enrollees who did not respond to their July renewal deadline due to flooding in the state will continue to receive their benefits for another month and their renewal deadline will be moved to August 31. The state is taking advantage of the CMS strategy to delay procedural denials for a month.
Medicaid Communication and Outreach Efforts
Colorado hosted a meeting for community partners. On July 26, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) hosted a virtual meeting for community partners. During the meeting, HCPF highlighted new outreach materials for partners, provided an overview of the flexibilities the state is leveraging for unwinding and reviewed early data on unwinding. There was also a question and answer session.
D.C. launched a monthly meeting for Medicaid enrollees to learn more about how to renew their coverage. The District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) hosted the “How Do I Renew My Medicaid Health Insurance” event online on Saturday, July 29 aimed at anyone enrolled in Medicaid. The meeting was held on a Saturday to reach those unable to attend weekday or weeknight meetings and training. The meeting focused on why and how to update addresses and renew Medicaid coverage and offered a safe space to ask questions about coverage and the renewal process. DHCF also hosts bi-weekly stakeholder meetings and monthly training meetings for anyone looking to support enrollees with the process of renewing their Medicaid eligibility. The slide decks and recordings for biweekly and monthly meetings are posted online.
Indiana highlighted additions to its unwinding page during an August stakeholder meeting. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) posted a recording of its August stakeholder meeting. During the meeting FSSA highlighted a new outreach video as well as changes to its unwinding resource page to facilitate ease of access to the most popular material. FSSA officials also provided a walkthrough of the state’s dashboards. Stakeholders in attendance were encouraged to submit questions to the FSSA officials hosting the meeting.
Kentucky reviewed how providers can support patients through the renewal process during their recent stakeholder meeting. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) posted the slides and a recording of the July stakeholder meeting on unwinding. During the meeting CHFS shared the most recent unwinding data, discussed the actions the state is taking to reach enrollees to ensure their coverage continues and reviewed how providers can support patients through the renewal process.
Minnesota is translating their renewal materials into additional language. The Department of Human Services added renewal timeline graphics in five additional languages, including Spanish.
Making Information About Unwinding Public
D.C. shared information about the strategies it has adopted to reach compliance with federal renewal requirements. At the July 19 Medicaid Renewal Community Meeting, DCHF detailed how it is addressing issues identified in the state mitigation strategies document published by CMS. The strategies include streamlining income and asset determinations; simplifying renewal forms and requirements; making additional policy changes to support retention of coverage; and enhancing outreach and in-person assistance.
New York published the renewal plan it submitted to CMS. The New York State Department of Health released the state’s Renewal Plan that it submitted to CMS. The plan describes the state’s approach for prioritizing and distributing renewals. The state has received CMS approval for ten section 1902(e)(14) waivers.