On February 14, 2023, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) hosted a webinar to provide awareness in identifying red flags as states begin their unwinding period for the continuous coverage provision. NHeLP is a national non-profit law firm that is “committed to improving health care access, equity, and quality for underserved individuals and families” and has disability rights and legal aid advocates in D.C. and all 50 states. Keynote speakers for the event included Senior Attorneys Miriam Delaney, Elizabeth Edwards, and Sarah Grusin.

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law December 2022, Congress has set an end to the continuous enrollment provision of Medicaid on March 31, 2023. States that have accepted enhanced federal funding can thus resume Medicaid disenrollments beginning April 2023. According to NHeLP, there are currently 91 million Americans enrolled and this “unwinding” process of ending coverage for those found ineligible will include the termination of 15 million people. Despite remaining eligible for Medicaid and other types of low-cost coverage, many individuals (especially children) are at a high risk for losing coverage due to administrative hurdles that they must now overcome.

During the webinar, NHeLP pointed out several red flags within the Medicaid renewal forms: they are long and complicated, are filled with confusing questions, are not accessible to persons with disabilities, and have burdensome and confusing verifications. Public education, outreach, and advocacy, especially within the child welfare field, will be vital to ensuring that individuals and families do not erroneously lose coverage. Properly navigating renewal forms and the change of circumstances process must become a top priority for this transition period.

NHeLP has declared that they are dedicated to supporting advocates on the ground in order to generate a smooth unwinding process that protects coverage. The firm has published a checklist that provides an overview of redetermination requirements and common red flags that indicate failures by the Medicaid agency to meet those requirements. They have additionally released a resource publication that has been compiled from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other federal agencies. NHeLP has encouraged anyone who identifies red flags in their state to reach out to them for assistance: nhelp@healthlaw.org.

By Erin Weiss, Policy Intern