If you had Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic, your state will review your eligibility starting on Apr. 1, 2023, and within the following 14 months.
As many as 15 million people who had Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic, also referred to as the public health emergency (PHE), will lose it. If you are one of them, you can apply for other healthcare insurance options. If you are still eligible, you may need to renew your Medicaid coverage.
Read on for an overview of FAQs about Medicaid renewal.
The federal government increased funding for Medicaid in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or PHE. As a result, people who qualified for Medicaid had continuous enrollment and didn’t have to reapply to retain their coverage.
Also as a result of that provision, more people qualified for Medicaid during the pandemic.
Since that period ended on Apr. 1, 2023, everyone on Medicaid is required to renew to maintain their coverage — and some people may lose their coverage if their situations have changed.
This means that if you were covered by Medicaid during the pandemic, your state will require you to renew your coverage. States had to start this process on Apr. 1, 2023, but they have 14 months to complete the “unwinding period.”
If you’ve been receiving Medicaid, you should get a notice to renew your coverage at some point before Jun. 1, 2024, when that 14-month period is up.
If your income has increased or you’ve had a change in categorical eligibility, such as age or disability status, you may no longer be eligible for Medicaid and may be disenrolled.
However, you still may be able to get healthcare coverage through Medicare or your state’s Marketplace.
You need to renew your Medicaid every 12 months to maintain your coverage.
Since you must renew your Medicaid annually, you need to contact your local county Department of Job and Family Services to report your household income.
Make sure they have your address and the correct contact information for you on file so they can follow up with you about your coverage.
States sometimes allow Medicaid applicants to report their household income online in a process called ex parte renewal. Or they may send you a notice by mail, and you’ll need to respond as requested.
As long as your local administration has your contact information, you should receive a notice to renew, along with a renewal form.
Once you receive the notice, fill out the renewal form, include any documentation requested (such as proof of income), and submit it online or by mail to the correct address.
Checking your coverage
If you’re unsure of the current status of your healthcare coverage, contact your state’s Medicaid office. You can call 1-877-267-2323 and request the phone number.
Or, if your state offers an online portal for Medicaid coverage, you can check your profile there.
Practical tips for renewing your Medicaid
Here are a few tips to help make the process as smooth as possible and avoid coverage gaps:
- Stay organized: Keep a physical file folder, or start a digital folder on your computer or phone, where you keep all the application information, mail, and notes.
- Put deadlines on your calendar: Note important deadlines on a calendar you check regularly.
- Gather your documentation: If you know what documentation you’ll need for the application, such as proof of income, consider collecting it in advance to have it ready.
- Make responding a priority: Follow up promptly with any requests regarding your renewal.
Read more about how to renew your Medicaid coverage here.
It typically takes the Medicaid agency 45 days to process your application. If you also need a disability determination, it may take up to 90 days.
However, determining your eligibility may take even longer if you don’t provide the necessary documents.
That’s why it’s best to apply as soon as possible and double-check to ensure you’ve included all the required information and documentation.
If your income has increased or your household size has changed, your eligibility for Medicaid may have changed too — but it depends on your state.
How much money you can make while keeping Medicaid depends on your state and household situation.
You may qualify under financial eligibility if you have an annual household income under a certain threshold and have a certain number of people in your household. This limit varies by state, but in most cases, the threshold is 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
However, the threshold is 0% for adults who do not have children in some states and up to 221% for adults with a family of three (in the District of Columbia).
In 2023, the income threshold of 138% of the FPL is $34,306 in most states. This is because the FPL in 2023 for a family of three is $24,860.
For an individual, the FPL in 2023 is $14,580, which sets the income threshold at $20,120.
Remember that income isn’t the only way to qualify for Medicaid. You may also qualify under nonfinancial criteria, like age and specific health conditions.
To learn more about the resources available, call your state’s Medicaid agency. You can find a list of contact information by state here.
The Medicaid website is another great place to start as you’re learning about how to apply or renew. Its beneficiary resources page offers a list of how-tos, FAQs, and resources by state.
You may also be able to find an application at other locations in your community, such as Aging and Disability Resource Centers.
Sometimes a friend, family member, or attorney may need to help another person apply for Medicaid or renew their current coverage.
To help someone renew their Medicaid, you’ll need to help them fill out the application and send the proper documentation along with it. The application may require them to give you permission to make the application for them.
You’ll need to know the details of their situation so that you can answer questions about their eligibility. You may also need access to their financial records to find the right documentation — such as their most recent tax bill.
In some cases, the state may also request an interview in person.
To start applying on behalf of someone else, find the application form online for your state, or call your state Medicaid office for more information.
If you no longer qualify for Medicaid, you can look for healthcare coverage through your state’s Marketplace.
Health insurance plans through official marketplace providers often cost less than $10 per month and cover healthcare needs such as:
- doctor visits
- urgent care
- hospital visits
- prescription drugs
You may also be able to get health insurance coverage through your employer. The premium, copayment, deductible, and coinsurance are important features to look at when considering the plans available.
Group health insurance plans are another option. You may qualify for them through a union, an alumni association, a professional or religious group, or another organization you belong to.
And if you’re age 65 years or over, don’t forget that you qualify for healthcare coverage through the Medicare program.
Even if you think you may not qualify for Medicaid anymore, make sure to respond to any Medicaid state agency communications and provide any documentation in a timely fashion. This way, if you qualify, you can minimize any gaps in coverage.
If you no longer qualify, there are several other options you can turn to for affordable healthcare coverage, such as your state’s healthcare insurance marketplace.