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How States are Handling the End of Continuous Medicaid Enrollment

March 20, 2023

We are less than two weeks away from the end of continuous enrollment in Medicaid (MA) and Children’s Health Insurance Program.

During December, federal lawmakers approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which severed the link between continuous enrollment and the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Effective April 1, Pennsylvania and other states must determine if their enrollees in these programs are eligible for coverage.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is reaching out to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries to ensure they update their information and complete renewal forms when they arrive by mail.

Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released its survey evaluating how states are preparing for the unwinding of continuous enrollment and different strategies they are using to promote coverage.

Among the key takeaways from the KFF survey:

  • A process:  A majority of states (43 of 49) expect it to take between 12 and 14 months to return to routine operations and complete unwinding after continuous enrollment ends.
  • Getting started:  About half of states have started identifying people who may no longer be eligible or who have not responded to renewal requests. All reporting states have encouraged enrollees to update their contact information to ensure they receive important renewal notices.
  • Uncertain outcomes:  The projected Medicaid disenrollment rate varied among reporting states from 7 percent to 33 percent of total enrollees. Estimates indicate between 15 million and 18 million people may lose Medicaid coverage during the upcoming year.
  • Staffing challenges:  More than half of reporting states indicated they have vacancy rates greater than 10 percent for frontline eligibility workers, which could create challenges as states manage an “unprecedented volume of work.”
  • Quotable:  “Boosting staff resources and consumer assistance capacity, actively monitoring the unwinding to identify issues, and rapidly responding to systemic or recurring problems can help avoid disenrollments that lead to coverage losses,” the report notes.

To ensure that patients and families covered by MA and CHIP continue to have health care coverage, 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.