The leaders of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services and the Pennie health insurance marketplace visited Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County on Wednesday morning to increase public awareness regarding the state’s ongoing Medicaid renewals.
DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh emphasized that It’s vitally important for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) households to make sure that the contact information on their account is up to date, and to keep an eye out for the arrival of their renewal notifications.
In many cases, people will be able to maintain their Medicaid coverage. Those who are no longer eligible can shop for health insurance through Pennie. Thanks to subsidies, plans available through Pennie frequently cost $10 a month or less, Pennie Executive Director Devon Trolley said.
“Everyone deserves the dignity and peace of mind of having access to affordable, high-quality health care and knowing they can go to the doctor when they need it,” Arkoosh said.
Social service providers like CAP and health centers like Union Community Care can assist their clients with Medicaid and Pennie enrollment, she said.
“We are here to help,” said Jessica Null, school-based health coordinator at Union Community Care.
Having access to healthcare when it’s needed “helps us create choices, not just for our today, but for our future,” CAP CEO Vanessa Philbert said.
The end of continuous coverage
Wednesday’s press event is part of the effort by state officials and community organizations to minimize the disruption caused by the expiration of Medicaid’s “continuous coverage” provisions.
During the pandemic, the federal government had loosened Medicaid’s eligibility requirements and required states to keep people enrolled without annually rechecking their eligibility, as is normally required.
Continuous coverage ended in March. States now are tasked with redetermining eligibility for their entire Medicaid populations — about 3.6 million people, in Pennsylvania’s case.
For more information
- Pa. Department of Human Services: Medicaid and CHIP Renewals
Some states have been aggressively purging their Medicaid rolls. On Tuesday, two families sued Florida, alleging they were improperly terminated from Medicaid without notice or a chance to appeal.
Through the end of July, Pennsylvania had disenrolled 137,525 Medicaid beneficiaries, including 5,587 in Lancaster County. Detailed data by jurisdiction is available on DHS’ Medicaid Unwinding Tracker.
Arkoosh previously visited Lancaster in April, at the start of reenrollment, to raise awareness. Her message on Wednesday was the same: “DHS’ goal throughout the renewal process is to make sure that all Pennsylvanians stay covered, so they have that peace of mind,” she said.