This week, the Pritzker Administration and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced its plans to launch a public awareness campaign to make sure Illinoisan Medicaid enrollees are aware that their health insurance will no longer auto-renew starting in June.
Stay one step ahead. Join our email list for the latest news.Subscribe
The campaign is called Ready to Renew. Ready to Renew is aimed at Medicaid customers to make sure their coverage continues after the end of the PHE’s continuous coverage period. The multi-media advertising campaign plans to use paid advertisements, print, digital communication, broadcast communications, and grassroots outreach.
“In Illinois, we’re ensuring everyone has access to quality healthcare coverage—and one of the ways we are doing that is by spreading the word about the Medicaid renewal process,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “Now that pandemic-era protections are ending, we are making sure every eligible Illinoisan has the information they need to renew their coverage—whether they’re watching TV, reading the newspaper, riding the bus to work, or listening to their favorite radio station.”
HFS 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.
HFS decided to take a time-based approach to its unwinding process, which will take place monthly, starting in June 2023. HFS said beneficiaries should start seeing renewal notices arriving in early May for renewals that are due by June 1st.
HFS is asking beneficiaries to make sure their mailing address is up to date through the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) website. The agency is also asking beneficiaries to complete and return their renewal packets—if they receive a renewal packet—by their due date so they do not lose coverage if they are still eligible.
“We are doing everything we can to preserve coverage for everyone who is eligible,” HFS Director Theresa Eagleson said. “Historically, almost half the people who lose coverage did not respond to their renewal notice. If everybody pitches in to spread the word and help customers get ready, we can make a huge difference in the tragic gap in health equity for hundreds of thousands of people.”
HFS has created a toolkit to help health providers and community organizations reach out to their Medicaid customers. The toolkit provides subject lines for social media posts, text templates, email and letter templates, phone scripts, and communication materials are available in multiple languages.