The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas wants to minimize loss of KanCare coverage associated with the unwinding of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). KanCare eligibility redeterminations were paused during the pandemic, and as individuals go through redetermination, we want to ensure that anyone still eligible for KanCare keeps their coverage.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic required that states must provide continuous coverage for all Medicaid enrollees through the end of the month in which the PHE ends. This requirement applied to anyone with Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020, and includes anyone enrolled in coverage during the PHE. There is not currently a set date for this unwinding to begin, but many estimate the start in January 2023.
Once the “unwinding” of continuous coverage begins, states will have up to 12 months to resume normal eligibility and enrollment, with an additional 2 months to complete work.
The situation nationwide: The federal government estimates that around 17.4% of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees will leave coverage during the unwinding.
- Approximately 9.5% of these individuals will lose eligibility for the programs.
- Approximately 7.9% of these individuals will lose coverage through “administrative churning” despite remaining eligible for the program.
- Nearly 3 out of every 4 children who lose Medicaid will still be eligible for coverage.
Those who will lose coverage are more likely to be under the age of 34 and are BIPOC. Of those who lose coverage because of a loss of eligibility, some will qualify for assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, but some will fall into the coverage gap with no affordable options for health insurance.
“Administrative churning” occurs when the state is missing information or can’t verify eligibility. These individuals are still eligible for Medicaid coverage but may lose it because of issues with paperwork or not updating their information on time.
Our goal is to help minimize the number of individuals who lose their coverage because of administrative churning.
The situation in Kansas: Kansas 20% loss number (20% more enrollees since pandemic started) Since the continuous coverage requirement began, Kansas has not unenrolled Medicaid recipients unless they requested disenrollment, moved out of state, or died. They also have not sent renewal forms to members.
The Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) plans to spread the delayed renewals over the allotted 14 month period. All KanCare members will need a renewal determination. During this time, KDHE will notify members when it is time to renew their coverage and a deadline for when the required information must be provided. They will begin with renewals that have been “on hold” the longest.
Concern about children being disenrolled despite remaining eligible remains high in Kansas because we have not expanded KanCare to those in the coverage gap. If a parent is not aware of the need to update information or submit a renewal, their children could unnecessarily lose coverage.
First Steps: Widespread and repetitive messaging to key audiences will be needed to minimize the coverage loss associated with the unwinding of the PHE. KDHE encourages stakeholders to help share their messaging. They will begin contacting beneficiaries and stakeholders will detailed information once the COVID-19 PHE end date is known, but key messages will include:
- Call KanCare at 1-800-792-4884 to provide updated contact information if the member’s address or phone number has changed;
- When KanCare asks for information, respond by the due date provided;
- Continue to report changes to KanCare, such as if someone moves in or out of the home or if there is a change in employment.
The following are resources that you may find helpful on the topic of minimizing coverage loss during the unwinding of the public health emergency.
- KDHE: Presentation with Unwinding information
- KDHE: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and your Medicaid FAQ
- Georgetown: 50 State Unwinding Tracker
- Georgetown: Unwinding the PHE update page
- Georgetown: An Estimated 3.8 Million Eligible Children Could Lose Medicaid Due to Administrative Churn During the Unwinding
- HHS: Unwinding the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Provision: Projected Enrollment Effects and Policy Approaches
- Georgetown: Tips and Best Practices for Unwinding the Medicaid Continuous Coverage Protection