Maintaining Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Amid Postal Delays and Housing Displacements

Prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program

In light of recent postal delays and housing displacements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the related economic crisis and a wave of natural disasters across the country, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies face new challenges in communicating with their enrollees about their health coverage. Acting now to mitigate these challenges is essential as states are preparing for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) and “catching up” on coverage renewals for a large portion of their enrollees.

When the COVID-19 PHE ends, states will resume normal eligibility and enrollment processes, including redetermining eligibility and acting on changes in circumstances that may make individuals ineligible for Medicaid and CHIP. In all states, these eligibility renewal processes rely heavily on communication with enrollees by mail if Medicaid agencies are unable to redetermine eligibility based on available data sources. Postal delays and housing displacements resulting in change of address or unstable housing could lead to coverage loss for eligible individuals. However, there are strategies that state Medicaid and CHIP agencies may consider to help mitigate coverage losses.

In a new expert perspective prepared on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program, Manatt Health describes some of these potential mitigation approaches that states can consider and implement now or be ready to implement when they restart renewals. Strategies reviewed include:

  • Communicating with enrollees now, before the PHE ends
  • Extending current mail return time frames
  • Reviewing data sources to identify residency changes
  • Conducting outreach via other modalities
  • Leveraging managed care plans and enrollment assisters

To access the full expert perspective, click here.

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