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Federal Government Urges Action on Medicaid

June 13, 2023

The Biden administration this week is urging states to take action to ensure access to coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

In a letter to state governors this week, Xavier Becerra, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced new flexibilities to help reduce coverage losses for children and families. These flexibilities include allowing states to delay administrative termination for one month and additional assistance for beneficiaries to complete their renewal forms.

The letter to states comes a few months after Medicaid’s pandemic-era continuous enrollment provision ended on March 31.

“We encourage states to utilize all available flexibilities to ensure children and families don’t lose coverage,” Becerra said in the letter. “We also urge states to join us in partnering with local governments, community organizations, and schools to reach people eligible for Medicaid and CHIP where they are.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Background:  Many Medicaid beneficiaries are unaware of the return of the renewal process to determine their eligibility for coverage, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
    • Nationally, about 65 percent of Medicaid enrollees were unsure if states could remove people from the program due to ineligibility or a failure to complete the renewal process, and 7 percent incorrectly believed that states couldn’t remove people from the rolls.
  • By the numbers:  Early data from 21 states indicates that more than 1,078,000 Medicaid beneficiaries have been disenrolled through June 13, including 43,500 in Pennsylvania.
  • Disenrollment rates:  Among reporting states, Idaho (73%) has the highest disenrollment rate. Pennsylvania’s disenrollment rate is 32 percent, which puts it below the national median (44%).
  • What to do:  Pennsylvanians who receive coverage from the state should check that their information is up to date online, via the free myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling 877-395-8930 (215-560-7226 for Philadelphia residents).
  • Quotable:  “Everyone deserves the dignity and peace of mind of having access to affordable, high-quality health care and knowing they can go to the doctor when they need it,” Dr. Val Arkoosh, acting Department of Human Services secretary (DHS), said in a statement last week. “DHS’ goal throughout the renewal process is to make sure that all Pennsylvanians stay covered so they have that peace of mind.”

With the end of continuous enrollment, DHS—in partnership with provider organizations, including HAP—has developed resources to help providers share important information with patients.

DHS’s stakeholder toolkit includes printable education materials, scripts for conversations with patients, and digital assets, such as social media posts and website graphics.

The toolkit is available online.