February 27 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • How SBMs and DOIs can prepare for unwinding
  • SHVS on FCC Ruling
  • Navigating Medicaid Unwinding Transitions to Private Health Insurance
  • State updates: AL, CA, IA, ID, IL, MI, NJ, NV, OK & OR


How SBMs and DOIs can Prepare for Unwinding

Last week, State Health and Value Strategies published an expert perspective that provides a checklist of actions state-based marketplaces and state insurance departments can take to reduce gaps in coverage and minimize disruptions in care during the unwinding of the continuous coverage requirement. While many of the actions in the expert perspective are designed to be temporary, others involve policies or operational improvements that could reap long-term benefits by mitigating risks inherent in Medicaid-Marketplace “churn.”


SHVS on FCC Ruling

Also last week, SHVS published new resources to assist states in their efforts to communicate with enrollees during unwinding. In light of the recent FCC ruling permitting state agencies and their partners to send text messages and make phone calls to individuals about enrollment-related issues, SHVS has created sample text messages that can be customized by states in direct-to-enrollee communications. SHVS also published new sample messages and graphics to encourage coverage transitions from Medicaid into the Marketplace/CHIP, and sample radio reader scripts. As a reminder, SHVS has a one-stop resource page with links to all of their unwinding communications resources for states. 


Navigating Medicaid Unwinding Transitions to Private Health Insurance

The Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms is hosting a webinar, Resources for Navigators and Assisters: A Guide for Medicaid Unwinding Transitions to Private Health Insurance, on Wednesday, March 1. Georgetown’s nationally recognized experts will share their updated Navigator Resource Guide, with new information to support efforts to transition consumers as the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement ends and many will be newly eligible for Marketplace coverage or employer-sponsored insurance. The webinar will explore how to use the guide and what is new for the Medicaid unwinding; what navigators and assisters can expect; sample case scenarios; and responses to unwinding-related frequently asked questions.


State updates: AL, CA, IA, ID, IL, MI, NJ, NV, OK & OR

  • Alabama
  • The Alabama Medicaid Agency announced that it will begin sending Medicaid renewal notices April 1, 2023.
  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has renewed the STD/HIV home specimen collection kit program for 2023. The purpose of the initiative is to promote STD/HIV sample collection and laboratory-based testing among individuals at home to strengthen the STD/HIV prevention and control program in Alabama. Home sample collection and laboratory-based testing allow people to test for a sexually transmitted infection or HIV, find out their result in their own home or other private location, and be connected to care as appropriate.
  • California
    • The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced the creation of the Medi-Cal Member Advisory Committee (MMAC). The committee will provide a dedicated space for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) members to directly provide input to DHCS’ director and leadership. It will also bolster member representation in DHCS’ stakeholder engagement efforts. The committee will be comprised entirely of Medi-Cal members and family caregivers, and will operate alongside existing DHCS advisory groups. DHCS will make every effort to ensure the MMAC membership is reflective of the diversity of Medi-Cal members, and MMAC meetings will be inclusive of members who speak a primary language other than English and will be designed to meet any other needs that allow members to fully participate.
    • Governor Gavin Newsom announced the availability of $907 million in grant funding to address the immediate housing and treatment needs of people experiencing homelessness and serious behavioral health conditions, including mental illness and substance use disorders. The Behavioral Health Bridge Housing program, under DHCS, will provide support through various “bridge” housing settings, and must include voluntary supportive services to help program participants obtain and maintain housing, manage symptoms of serious behavioral health conditions, and support recovery and wellness.
  • Idaho – The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) announced that DHW began sending Medicaid re-evaluation notices February 1.
  • Illinois – Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a bill authorizing an easier process for individuals seeking to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. The updated law allows changes to the birth certificate providing the petitioner signs a statement affirming their gender identity, opening an easier path to legal recognition for transgender Illinoisans.
  • Iowa
    • The Iowa Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) shared updates about the community-based services evaluation, an evaluation of the state’s community-based behavioral, disability and aging services to understand how Iowans access and use services through Medicaid and other programs. HHS shared an evaluation report which includes three key recommendations suggesting Iowa HHS: 1) implement streamlined screening and improved processes to better align services with people’s needs; 2) align community-based services (CBS), including Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers, to the needs of Iowans; and 3) maximize access to Medicaid HCBS and other CBS supports for people with long-term service and support needs.
    • Iowa HHS posted resources concerning the state’s continuous coverage unwind plan. These materials are meant to help members navigate unwinding as seamlessly as possible. Materials currently available include a document that explains the state’s unwinding plan; a slide deck for stakeholders and their constituents; a toolkit of information and resources; how-to guides for members applying for the Medicaid program; previews of upcoming mailings members will receive; a frequently asked questions document; and printables for offices and bulletins.
  • Michigan
    • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to fund resources supporting implementing the social determinants of health strategy and the development of the next iteration of the Michigan Health Equity Roadmap.
    • MDHHS issued an RFP for providers to expand access to and increase capacity for substance use disorder treatment and recovery services. A total of $2 million is available through the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund, with a maximum award of $495,000 per grantee. MDHHS anticipates issuing up to four awards.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced that 341,901 New Jerseyans signed up for health coverage through Get Covered New Jersey during open enrollment, a nearly 40% increase since the Murphy administration took over the operation of the Marketplace for plan year 2021. The number of residents signed up for coverage is a record high for New Jersey, with more consumers signing up for Marketplace coverage than during any prior open enrollment period.
  • Nevada – The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Analytics announced the publication of new and updated data dashboards to provide information to the public, agency partners and community stakeholders. Newly published or updated data dashboards include the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System; Nevada Medicaid Telehealth Services; Substance Use Surveillance; Cancer Mortality; Leading Causes of Death; and more.
  • Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority outlined their plan to phase the eligibility redetermination process following the end of the continuous coverage requirement by population. The first group, to be disenrolled starting April 30, 2023, will be members with an income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) eligibility limits who have no children under five years of age on SoonerCare (Medicaid) and already have other major medical coverage. The second group to be disenrolled will be those who have an income above FPL eligibility limits, no children under five years of age on SoonerCare, and no claims and no other medical coverage on file.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that Dana Hittle, who has served as interim state Medicaid director at OHA the last two years and, prior to that, as deputy Medicaid director, has been appointed permanent Medicaid director.