Sep, 06, 2023

States of Unwinding: September 6, 2023

With the start of the school year, states are leveraging back to school as an opportunity to encourage parents to return renewal forms. Kentucky, Maine and New Hampshire have all created fliers reminding parents to complete renewal forms for their children. 

As states look for opportunities to support individuals in applying for coverage, two states are creating opportunities for individuals to connect with assisters who can help them navigate applying. Arizona’s Medicaid enrollment website now allows individuals to search for community partners to help them enroll, while New Mexico’s Marketplace is hosting events where consumers can connect with assisters.

States continue to leverage federal flexibilities to preserve coverage in light of high rates of procedural denials. For example, Hawaii announced that it will pause terminations through the end of 2023. 

Medicaid agencies continue to communicate and outreach to enrollees. Alabama released two videos to encourage enrollees to fill out and return renewal forms, while Maine is calling enrollees who have not returned their forms. 

Lastly, several additional states are making information about unwinding public by publishing dashboards, which we are tracking through our expert perspective State Reporting to Monitor the Unwinding of the Medicaid Continuous Coverage Requirement. As a reminder, SHVS has created a one-stop resource page to support states as they plan for and implement unwinding.  

Back to School Communication and Outreach Campaigns

Kentucky has a back to school flier to remind parents about Medicaid renewals. Kynect Benefits, the state’s single stop website for state benefit programs, created an outreach flier to inform families who are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP coverage that their renewal letter will be coming soon and the actions they need to take to remain covered. The flier, which is also available in Spanish, includes contact information and a QR code directing individuals to more information about the unwinding.

Maine is reminding parents about completing renewal forms for their children. A flier from the Department of Health and Human Services is being included in the back to school “virtual backpack” created by the Department of Education. The flier highlights for parents that even if they themselves are no longer eligible for MaineCare, their children might be, given Maine’s expanded coverage of children.

New Hampshire is reminding parents about completing renewal forms. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is using back to school to remind parents about completing their yellow renewal forms to avoid a gap in their children’s coverage. The flier also highlights the availability of Navigators to help families enroll in another source of coverage if they are no longer eligible. 

Virginia is running a back to school campaign. The Department of Medical Assistance Services is continuing its annual back to school campaign. The 2023 back to school fliers are available to all public schools across the Commonwealth. Schools will decide the best way to distribute the flyers to parents and guardians. Schools may opt to share the flyers with students in person, via mail or digitally.

Connecting Consumers With Assisters

Arizona’s Medicaid enrollment website now allows individuals to search for community partners to help them enroll. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Arizona Department of Economic Security have upgraded search features on Health-e-Arizona Plus, the enrollment and eligibility website for Medicaid, SNAP, and cash assistance applicants and enrollees. Now users can search for “Community Assistors,” organizations and individuals who help Arizonans enroll in benefit programs, by zip code or full or partial address. The new “Locate Me” feature returns geolocated results without the user having to enter address information. The upgrade also allows users to search by radius and proximity to find “Community Assistors” up to 50 miles away. 

New Mexico’s Marketplace is hosting events where consumers can connect with assisters. BeWellNM, the state’s official health insurance Marketplace, has created an enrollment events calendar for individuals who have recently lost Medicaid coverage. The state is hosting various enrollment events across the state with certified assisters available to help individuals enroll in Marketplace coverage.

Leveraging Federal Flexibilities 

Hawaii will pause terminations through the end of 2023. The Med-QUEST Division of Hawai’i Department of Human Services announced that it is pausing terminations for the remainder of 2023. As a result, coverage will continue through at least the end of 2023 without interruption except for those who voluntarily request that Med-QUEST end their coverage, those who have moved out of state or those who are deceased.

Medicaid Communication and Outreach Efforts

Alabama Medicaid releases public service announcement videos. Alabama Medicaid posted two public service announcements (a one-minute video and a 30-second video) for enrollees about the end of the continuous coverage requirement. The videos encourage enrollees to fill out and return renewal forms they have received, whether or not they think they are still eligible. The videos also highlight that enrollees have 90 days to contact Alabama Medicaid if they receive a notice that their Medicaid was terminated but believe they are still eligible. 

Illinois is providing information about how to obtain duplicate renewal forms. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services updated its Frequently Asked Questions to include information about how to obtain a duplicate pre-populated renewal form.

Maine is calling enrollees who did not return their renewal paperwork in June. As a result of such calls, over 1,200 households initiated or completed their June renewal, and over 500 requested to close their MaineCare coverage for reasons such as having other insurance or no longer being a resident of Maine. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will continue to conduct this targeted follow up outreach to remind members of the renewal requirements and urge them to return their renewal forms.

Making Information About Unwinding Public

California published unwinding data for June in a new interactive format. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) published a dashboard detailing statewide and county-level demographic data on Medi-Cal application processing, enrollments, redeterminations, and renewal outcomes. DHCS will update, and continue to adjust, the dashboard monthly throughout the remainder of the year-long redetermination process.

Maine published a dashboard and released updated unwinding data. After launching an unwinding data dashboard at the end of July, DHHS released an update with additional data on redeterminations through July 2023. The update covers the first three months of redeterminations as reported to CMS, reflecting MaineCare members who were due for renewal in May, June, and July. DHHS is also publishing accompanying blog posts as a companion to the data releases. The post from August 25, 2023 highlights the various outreach efforts DHHS is engaged in to reach enrollees. 

Michigan highlighted the number of individuals renewed in July. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced it has renewed Medicaid enrollment for more than 121,000 people whose eligibility was up for redetermination in July. There were 9,121 people who were disenrolled in July because they were no longer eligible and 1,779 whose eligibility was not renewed for procedural reasons. MDHHS also announced it gained approval of eight federal waivers to implement additional strategies for renewing coverage and has submitted two other requests that are being considered.

Wyoming published unwinding data for July. The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) reported that through the end of July, Medicaid coverage was renewed for just over 9,000 enrollees. Coverage was ended for more than 10,100 Wyoming Medicaid or CHIP enrollees due to procedural reasons, such as not returning renewal forms. WDH believes many individuals who did not return forms may have realized they were no longer eligible and continues to encourage stakeholders to encourage enrollees to be aware of the renewal process.