Toolkit, other resources help Medicaid recipients navigate end of federal public health emergency
The federal public health emergency during the pandemic put a pause on some requirements Hoosiers typically have to maintain to remain eligible for Medicaid. Some Medicaid programs, including traditional Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Healthy Indiana Plan, temporarily suspended traditional rules that required updated paperwork and documentation to remain eligible for coverage.
April 1 marks the end of the federal mandate that makes states provide continued coverage, leaving some Hoosiers ineligible for Medicaid.
Doris Higgins is the director of agency support and community strategies at Covering Kids and Families of Indiana.
She said the exact day people may lose continued coverage differs based on dates they signed up, how many family members they have on the plan and other factors.
“It’s not April 1st people could lose their coverage, it's sometime over the next twelve months,” she said.
READ MORE: End of the federal public health emergency prompts confusion for recipients and providers
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She said about 75 percent of Hoosiers receiving Medicaid have already completed paperwork to update their information that will keep them eligible for coverage, or have sought out new coverage. However, she explained it is important for people to make these changes as soon as possible, as these dates will vary and could end soon.
Higgins said there are some people the state has not been able to reach, or who have not followed proper guidelines to remain eligible.
“We're really concerned about the 25 percent or about 500,000 Hoosiers [on] Medicaid who either they haven't been able to reach them to do their redetermination or they didn't respond, they didn't turn in paperwork or they know they're over income,” she said.
She said that of those 500,000, a large chunk of them still qualify for Medicaid. However, she says many of them need to take action soon, or else they will be phased out of coverage.
She recommends three steps for those wanting to maintain coverage.
First, she says it is important to update your contact information so the state can get ahold of you.
Next, she says to open any letters sent to you by the state or health providers.
“Read them and if you don't understand, get help and also open letters from your health care plan because they're also reaching out to people,” she said.
The last and most important part, she said, is to reach out for help.
“There's Indiana certified navigators all over the state that can help people sort through this and figure out what they need to do,” she said.
She also pointed Hoosiers to the Covering Kids and Families website, where they have a toolkit with important information and dates for Medicaid recipients and other resources to find and speak to navigators.
Higgins explained this research will also be helpful for healthcare providers and insurance navigators.
“They're going to have a lot of people coming to them with questions and concerns,” she said. “So this toolkit is also a place where we can start to share information that's important to them.”
She added that anyone working with Medicaid can help pass along information about resources and coverage.
“Order posters, put them up, hand out fliers, and then also connect with your local navigator organization, whether that's Covering Kids and Families, your local federally qualified health center, your community mental health center, whoever it is that's doing this kind of work for you locally,” she said. “Have somebody you can refer people to so that you can help them sort through this and avoid the loss of coverage.”
Higgins added the toolkit will be updated monthly with more information.
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