In February, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the alternative coverage options that are available for Medicaid beneficiaries in the state who may soon lose their coverage when eligibility redeterminations begin.
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MDHHS stated that starting in June, beneficiaries will have to start renewing their coverage as their coverage will no longer auto-renew because the federal government ended the state agency requirement to continuously cover Medicaid beneficiaries while under the Public Health Emergency (PHE).
During the federal COVID-19 PHE, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that prohibited state Medicaid agencies from disenrolling individuals who were otherwise determined ineligible for Medicaid. At the end of 2022, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which requires the PHE’s continuous enrollment provision to end on March 31st—which is separate from the general PHE end date on May 11th.
States must complete renewals and other eligibility actions within 14 months after the beginning of the unwinding period starting in April, and states are allowed to determine how to prioritize their unwinding plans based on the state’s needs.
States are taking varying approaches to their unwinding process including conducting redeterminations based on an individual’s time on Medicaid (redetermining eligibility for the longest-covered beneficiaries first), using a population-based approach by redetermining the eligibility of populations the state believes are no longer eligible first, or pursuing a hybrid approach.
Michigan decided to take a time-based approach to its unwinding process, which will take place monthly—starting in June 2023 running through May 2024—for renewals on traditional Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan. MDHHS said they will send out renewal notices three months prior to a beneficiaries’ renewal date starting with the June renewals.
“MDHHS is strongly committed to ensuring Michiganders who are eligible for Medicaid coverage remain enrolled,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of MDHHS. “More than three million Michiganders, including one million Healthy Michigan enrollees, have benefitted from keeping their Medicaid coverage without redeterminations on eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. MDHHS is preparing to assist residents who will be affected by changes in their coverage.”
MDHHS is asking beneficiaries to make sure their address, phone number, email address, number of individuals in their household, and income are up to date in their online portals or by calling their local MDHHS office. The agency is also asking beneficiaries to complete and return their renew packets—if they receive a renewal packet—by their due date so beneficiaries do not lose coverage if they are still eligible.
MDHHS stated it is launching a multi-media advertising campaign to make sure beneficiaries are aware of the federal redetermination requirements, so people can keep their coverage if eligible or seek other coverage if ineligible. MDHHS plans to use radio, audio services, social media ads, minority media outlets, and stakeholder communications.