February 6th, 2023 – Last week President Biden declared that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency will come to an end on May 11th, 2023. Congress was already balking at continuing to fund free federal sponsorship of COVID-19 vaccines and testing.
Then president Donald Trump, declared the Public Health Emergency on March 13th, 2020 and it has been extended every 90 days until now.
Once the PHE ends, private insurance should pay for COVID-19 vaccines, but testing is likely to be subject to the terms of the insurance policy’s coverage. The uninsured will have to foot the bill for testing, vaccines and treatment.
The end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) will have profound impacts on how all Coloradans’s COVID 19 vaccines and testing are covered and it will force an estimated 315,000 Coloradans off of the free Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and into the private health insurance market.
During the Public Health Emergency, Coloradans were allowed to stay on Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), regardless of if their income continued to meet the requirements or not.
According to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, there are presently 1.7 million people enrolled in Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Over the next 12 months Colorado will send out renewal notices to roughly 141,000 members per month to determine if they are still eligible. 2023 income limits for Medicaid coverage are $19,392 for an individual and $39,900 for a family of four.
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing estimated that as many as 315,000 members will no longer qualify and will need to purchase private health insurance. The loss of public program benefits is a qualifying event that will trigger a 60 day Special Enrollment Period. Members losing their Health First Colorado or CHP+ benefits, will have to enroll in new coverage the month prior to avoid having a lapse in coverage. Members whose income is too high for them to continue to receive public benefits could begin losing public program coverage as soon as June 1st, 2023.
Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing will send letters, emails, texts and push notifications via the Health First Colorado app to advise members of their renewal requirements. Once the Member submits their renewal packet, a Notice of Action Letter will be sent advising the member if they continue to be eligible for Health First Colorado or CHP+ OR if they will need to transition to private health insurance coverage.
If projections hold true, over 26,000 members each month will have to get new health insurance coverage over next 12 months. Many are expected to be eligible for sizable Advance Premium Tax Credits to reduce out of pocket costs for health insurance premiums and coverage will begin the 1st of the month following enrollment through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace.
If you are losing Health First Colorado or CHP+ benefits, let us help you evaluate your health insurance plan options available both through the health insurance marketplace and carrier direct to help you find the best coverage at the lowest available price. Our services are completely free and there is no extra cost to use a broker.