Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
As of yesterday, February 1, 2023, states may begin reevaluating the Medicaid eligibility status of millions of people who have remained covered by Medicaid through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, states have refrained from removing anyone from their Medicaid rolls in exchange for additional federal funding. In December 2022, Congress separated this “continuous coverage requirement” from the federal public health emergency (PHE) and decided that states could resume eligibility redeterminations on February 1, 2023 and begin removing people from the Medicaid rolls as early as April 1, 2023. All states must begin their unwinding process by the end of April 2023.
Additionally, the Biden Administration announced this week that it will end the federal public health emergency on May 11, 2023, marking the end of the additional federal funding. Starting this month, many states will begin the process of sending renewal letters to Medicaid recipients this month. It is expected that millions across the United States will lose their Medicaid coverage, some due to true ineligibility and many more due to paperwork issues.
During the redetermination process, state Medicaid offices will request information, like income or residency information, from Medicaid beneficiaries, often through the mail. These letters often go unreturned or are sent to incorrect addresses, which could lead to beneficiaries being wrongfully denied Medicaid coverage. In some states, experts are predicting that upwards of 30% of eligible Medicaid recipients could lose their coverage by not responding to requests for information. Given the importance of Medicaid reimbursements to the Indian Health System, loss of coverage for our patients could have devastating affects for the provision of care at our facilities.
It is vital that Medicaid beneficiaries update their address information and take care to respond to any information requests from state Medicaid offices. USET SPF urges member Tribal Nations to begin planning to assist Medicaid eligible patients through this process. While states officially have a year to complete their unwinding process once they begin, many states plan to initiate the redetermination process as quickly as possible, and will do so soon. Some states have already announced plans to begin the process, like Maine and Florida, which will both initiate their redetermination processes on April 1, 2023.
The USET Health Committee will have a session on Medicaid Unwinding at our upcoming Impact Week meeting. USET SPF will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates on state unwinding plans when more information is available.
For more information, please contact Ashton Martin, USET SPF Health Policy Analyst, at email@example.com.