April 6th, 2023 – Starting this June, 26,000 Coloradans are expected to lose Medicaid or CHP+ each month, over the next 12 months.
At a round table discussion earlier this week, the consensus opinion was that it will take a massive community outreach effort, including business leaders and insurance brokers to ensure the success of the Keep Coloradans Covered campaign to keep impacted Coloradan’s insured by other means.
During the Public Health Emergency (PHE) enacted by President Trump in response to the pandemic, Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and Child Health Plans Plus (CHP+) eligibility was extended, regardless of whether the people still qualified for the free health insurance or not. Since President Biden ended the PHE on May 11th, 2023, all Coloradans on Medicaid or CHP+ will have to re-qualify for the public programs over the next year. 325,000 Coloradans are expected to no longer qualify for public program benefits.
In order to be eligible for Medicaid, income has to be under $19,392 for a single person or under $39,900 for a family of 4. CHP+ eligibility levels are roughly double the Medicaid eligibility numbers. CHP+ covers children and pregnant women.
Coloradans losing their Medicaid or CHP+ benefits, will have to enroll in new coverage the month prior to their public programs’ end date to avoid a lapse in coverage. Members whose income is too high for them to continue to receive public benefits could start losing public program coverage as soon as June 1st, 2023.
If an employees’ income is above the Medicaid/CHP+ eligible threshold, the loss of Medicaid/CHP+ is a qualifying event, so employees and/or their eligible spouse and children under age 26 have a time sensitive opportunity to get onto their company’s health insurance plan.
Coloradans with Medicaid or CHP+ are urged to make sure their mailing address, phone number and email address is all current in the PEAK system. They can update their mailing address, email and phone numbers and sign up for electronic notifications by visiting CO.gov/PEAK. Renewal packets will be sent electronically or through the mail in an envelope with red lettering reading – “URGENT – PLEASE REPLY” – to indicate the importance of the required, time-sensitive member action. Renewal packets will go out 60 days prior to the renewal date. If they don’t respond, then they will be disenrolled from Medicaid.
It’s imperative that Colorado employers reach out to their employees who might be on Medicaid and are facing redetermination. Businesses should reach out to any employee who waived benefits or employees with adult children under age 26, not enrolled in the company’s insurance benefits. While many employees who waived coverage may be on a spouse’s plan, some very well may be on Medicaid and/or their children or pregnant spouse could be on CHP+.
Also, employees with adult children on Medicaid can get insurance through their parent’s plan up until age 26. However, if the adult child is not a tax dependent and their income allows them to qualify for a Premium Tax Credit on an individual plan, they may be better off getting their own coverage. It’s wise to consult with your broker to help the employee and/or their adult children make the best enrollment decision.
The roundtable, titled “Surviving the Medicaid Cliff” was sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and moderated by the Colorado Sun. Roundtable participants included executive leadership from the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing, Division of Insurance and Connect for Health Colorado.