Return to normal Medicaid enrollment: What families need to know to keep health coverage
November 17, 2022
CHoR nurse checks smiling boy's heart with stethoscope

    What families need to know to keep coverage when the public health emergency ends

    In March 2020 the federal government declared a public health emergency in response to COVID-19. Since then, all coverage for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program – or CHIP, Virginia’s version of FAMIS – has continued without renewal, even for those who may no longer qualify.

    “Continued coverage has been a lifeline for many families, taking one concern off their plates during the pandemic,” said Jan Kirby, RN, pediatric patient advocate at CHoR. “As we anticipate the declared public health emergency coming to an end, we want to ensure parents and caregivers are prepared and knowledgeable about how to keep their children’s medical and health needs covered.” 

    When will the COVID-19 public health emergency end?

    The continuation of the public health emergency is being reviewed for renewal every 90 days. The Department of Health and Human Services has committed to providing states 60 days’ notice before any planned expiration. The last renewal occurred in October, making the next possible expiration in January 2023. If this expiration is planned, we would be notified this month (November).  

    Once the public health emergency has ended most people will have to go through the Medicaid/CHIP eligibility renewal process. States will have 12 months to make sure members are still eligible for coverage.

    How can health care providers help families prepare to renew Medicaid coverage now?

    • Stay in the know so you can provide updates to your patients and their parents/caregivers.
    • Encourage families to update their contact information. They need to make sure the state has their current mailing address, phone number and email so they receive important notices and paperwork.

    Updates can be made one of three ways:

    1. Online at commonhelp.virginia.gov
    2. Calling Cover Virginia at 1-855-242-8282
    3. Calling their local Department of Social Services

    What should families do once the COVID-19 public health emergency expires?

    • Check the mailThe state will mail you a letter about your coverage. This letter will let you know if you need to complete a renewal form to see if you still qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.
    • Complete the renewal form if you get oneFill out the form and return it to your state right away to help avoid a gap in coverage.

    What should you do if your family doesn’t qualify for continued Medicaid coverage once the COVID-19 public health emergency expires?

    If your family no longer qualifies for full health coverage through Virginia Medicaid or CHIP, you’ll receive a notice of when the coverage will end. The notice will include information about how to file an appeal if you believe the eligibility decision is incorrect, as well as a referral to the Federal Marketplace and information about buying other health care coverage.

    Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to get financial help to lower the cost of private health insurance through HealthCare.gov.

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