At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted legislation that required state Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), in exchange for enhanced federal funding. At the end of 2022, legislation was signed into law ending continuous Medicaid enrollment on March 31, 2023. Accordingly, beginning on April 1, 2023, states started to “unwind” the continuous coverage requirement by reviewing the eligibility of every person enrolled in Medicaid in the state.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates that between 5.3 million and 14.2 million people will lose Medicaid coverage during the 12-month unwinding period reflecting a five percent and 13 percent decline in enrollment.
Hearing aid coverage for children (younger than 21) is federally mandated for all state Medicaid programs. Hearing aid coverage for adults (older than 21) is optional in state Medicaid programs and currently 30 states provide some degree of coverage for adults. This anticipated drop in overall Medicaid coverage will result in individuals losing coverage for these services and reducing the number of enrollees who may have previously been eligible.
Increasingly concerned about the numbers of persons losing coverage, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra wrote a letter on June 12 to all U.S. governors urging them to adopt all flexibilities on Medicaid redeterminations that HHS has offered, to help eligible individuals and families maintain their health coverage and leverage all state partners to support individuals and families to complete renewal forms. In the letter, he provided a full list of available state strategies, which can be found here.
The letter also encourages states to partner with stakeholders on the ground to engage more directly with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) families and cites the results of a recent survey of Medicaid enrollees in which two-thirds of people were not sure if their state was returning to regular Medicaid operations.
We must all do more to ensure that everyone with Medicaid or CHIP coverage knows that they must check their mailbox and/or email for a renewal form and return it immediately to maintain their coverage. I urge you to work with local governments, community-based organizations, schools, faith-based organizations and leaders, grocery stores, pharmacies, and anyone else in your communities who can help people understand the Medicaid and CHIP renewal process.
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