The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) confirmed on Friday that it is actively hiring and recruiting additional staff ahead of Medicaid redeterminations.
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In a statement to State of Reform, HHSC said Medicaid eligibility renewals would begin in April and continue over a 12-month period.
“HHSC will stagger Medicaid redeterminations over multiple months, prioritizing redeterminations for those most likely to no longer qualify for Medicaid,” the statement read. “During this time, recipients who respond timely to renewal packets or requests for information from HHSC will have their Medicaid coverage continue until HHSC completes a redetermination to confirm if they are eligible to continue receiving benefits.”
Testifying before the Texas Senate Finance Committee earlier this month, HHSC Commissioner Cecile Young described the process as a “massive undertaking” and requested funding to hire 600 temporary employees to assist with redeterminations.
Last October, HHSC reported delays to Medicaid renewals were caused by some 400 staffing vacancies, which led to a backlog of 70,000 Medicaid applications and failures to process half of the renewal submission within federal guidelines for timeliness.
While the staffing situation has improved, concerns over redetermination remain. HHSC projects up to 1.7 million of the 5.9 million currently enrolled in Medicaid will lose their coverage. HHSC will notify Medicaid recipients about the end of continuous coverage in a variety of ways.
Members who stand to lose coverage will get a notice from HHSC stating so and will automatically have their applications for an affordable option submitted to the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
HHSC has already issued notices advising recipients to look out for and respond to any agency communications related to the renewal process. It has also supplied partner organizations and community groups with outreach tools to help communicate the end of continuous Medicaid coverage.
HHSC will mail renewal notices in a yellow envelope with “Action Required” written in red on it. Recipients who have a Your Texas Benefits account and have opted to go paperless will receive their renewal packets electronically.
In addition to mailed notices, HHSC will use social media posts, online banner messages, flyers, emails, and text messages to notify recipients about the renewal process.