Have you been enrolled in Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus during the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you’ve got to take action to renew your coverage.
During the pandemic, the government declared a federal public health emergency. That allowed people who are covered by Medicaid to stay on Medicaid without having to fill out annual paperwork to reapply for benefits.
Now that the government is ending the public health emergency, Medicaid recipients are required to update their personal information – especially their address and information about their income — with Medicaid, a joint state and federal government health insurance program for people with low income. In Colorado, Medicaid is known as Health First Colorado.
In late March, Medicaid began sending redetermination packets of paperwork to the current address on record for Medicaid recipients. The packets are sent 60-70 days before a recipient’s renewal date. These renewal notices will be sent monthly through April 2024, according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers Medicaid in the state.
“We are trying to get the word out there to help our patients, so they don’t lose coverage or have a lapse in coverage,’’ said Andrew Pederson, director of financial counseling for UCHealth.
Here’s what to do to renew your Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus health insurance coverage:
- Visit CO.gov/PEAK or log in to the Health First Colorado app and make sure your contact information is up to date. That way, Health First Colorado will be able to contact you about your coverage.
- Check your mail, email and PEAK mailbox and take action when you get official messages about renewing your Health First Colorado or CHP+.
- If you get a renewal packet with URGENT – PLEASE REPLY on the envelope, fill it out, sign it and return it right away. This may help you avoid a gap in your coverage.
- Check out the Health First Colorado website for more information.
Historically, a patient on Medicaid had to have an annual evaluation to make sure they were still qualified for coverage under Medicaid’s guidelines. When annual evaluations were not required during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people receiving Medicaid grew in Colorado.
People who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will have to buy private health insurance or enroll in an employer’s health care plan. If you no longer qualify for Medicaid, you also may be able to buy health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s health care marketplace.
At UCHealth, patients who are “self-pay,’’ meaning they have no health insurance, are referred to Pederson’s patient financial counseling program for help.
“A financial counselor would reach out to that patient and screen them for financial assistance. If they’re still eligible for Medicaid, then we would reapply. If not, we would proceed with other financial assistance,’’ Pederson said. “In most cases, Medicaid will retroactively provide coverage for 90 days, as long as the patient is still eligible for that coverage.
Regardless of your health insurance coverage, if you are having a health emergency, don’t delay care. Go directly to the emergency department.
To speak to a financial counselor, patients may contact 855-843-3547 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or send a message through My Health Connection.