(BPT) - Are you currently receiving Medicaid coverage for your healthcare? If you are, you'll need to take steps right away to make sure you stay covered. Beginning in 2020, the federal government took steps to ensure Medicaid members were able to maintain coverage during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Now that the nation is unwinding from the pandemic, many Americans enrolled in Medicaid must take steps to renew their coverage.
Many people who have qualified for Medicaid throughout this period may have experienced changes in their circumstances, including income and family size, that could impact their eligibility to stay covered under Medicaid as federal requirements change. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 91 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as of November 2022. Estimates suggest up to 15 million could lose health coverage if they do not take steps to renew eligibility for Medicaid or seek other coverage options.
It's important to know if this change impacts you because keeping continuous health coverage allows you and your family to maintain coverage for critical medical care and preventative services without interruption. Ensuring you are covered - whether through Medicaid or another plan - is critical to managing costs associated with visiting your doctor as needed, and avoiding barriers to care and financial risk.
What do you need to do today?
1. Update your information: Make sure your correct, up-to-date contact information (including your current mailing address, phone number and email address) is on file with your state's Medicaid agency today, so that you'll continue to receive timely benefit updates and important paperwork about your eligibility.
2. Confirm your eligibility status: If your state has an eligibility portal, log in and check your eligibility status and renewal date online right away. If your renewal date is coming up, make sure you're ready to complete any required paperwork as soon as possible.
3. Check the mail: If you do receive a request or renewal packet from your state - or if they have already sent one to you - be sure to respond promptly. Fill it out and send it back by the date it says on the packet to find out if you're still eligible for Medicaid, or if you'll need to choose another option.
What if you're no longer eligible for Medicaid?
If you don't qualify for Medicaid anymore, the good news is that there are other health plan options available for you and your family. Losing your Medicaid or other health coverage is called a Qualifying Life Event. When that happens, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. That means you can choose a new plan right away, either from your employer's group health plan (if applicable) or through an individual or family plan through the health insurance marketplace. If you are working, check with your employer's HR department for options and make a selection right away, as you may only have a limited period of time to join.
If you don't have coverage available through an employer, you may be eligible for a healthcare plan through exchange plans on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. Plan options and financial assistance vary by state and income, but you may even qualify for low or no-cost coverage in your area. It's important to apply right away, so you won't have any gap in your healthcare coverage.
Gaps in health coverage may mean missed opportunities to better manage chronic conditions, to receive timely routine vaccinations or to have screenings for early detection of new conditions, all of which could negatively impact you or a family member's long-term health and well-being. Make sure to act right away, and you'll have the peace of mind that your coverage won't be interrupted.
To start the process of checking your eligibility, learn more about plans available to you and to find more information, visit UHC.com/staycovered.