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Pandemic Medicaid coverage set to end: What Coloradans should know

Here’s a look at who will lose coverage, and when it will end.
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Over the next year, more than 325,000 Coloradans may lose their Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus coverage as the pandemic plan ends, according to estimates from the state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. 

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, launched in March 2020, allowed people to remain enrolled in Medicaid even if they no longer met the requirements for eligibility. That allowance is ending.

“The feds gave states three options as to when the states wanted to resume their normal re-determination process: April, May or June. And Colorado opted for May,” said Marc Williams, public information officer with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

Some states chose to end their pandemic coverage for ineligible recipients all at once, but Colorado is using a staggered approach.

“Whatever month you enrolled in Medicaid, or CHP, the Child Health Plan Plus, that will become your renewal month going forward,” Williams explained. 

So if someone enrolled in August, they will receive a renewal packet in late June or early July, so they have enough time to complete the document before their benefits expire. Those who enrolled in May have already received their packets, Williams said.

“They need to provide us with updated information so that we can confirm their eligibility going forward,” he explained. “If they do receive that package — they need to fill it out, and sign it — it’s really important that people sign it … if you don’t sign it before the deadline, you could lose your benefit.”

Recipients can’t apply to renew their benefits before they receive their package, he said.

And some people won’t receive packages at all.

“They may be elderly, or have varying degrees of disabilities — who we know will automatically be re-enrolled, just because of their personal circumstances,” Williams explained.

The Medicaid income eligibility limits increased on Saturday to account for inflation — a household for a family of four can now earn up to $39,900 each year to be eligible, and a single person can earn up to $19,392. Child Health Plan Plus eligibility is now up to $38,637 annually for a single-person household and up to $79,500 for a family of four.

Many Coloradans who received a higher-paying job during the pandemic, or a job with health coverage, will no longer be eligible for Medicaid.

“We’re really encouraging those people — who know their circumstances have changed — to start looking for what other coverage options they may have. Our goal in all of this is to really keep Coloradans covered, and there are a variety of options available to people,” Williams said. 

Before the pandemic Medicaid policy was enacted, around 1.2 million Coloradans were enrolled in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus, he explained.

“We are now at about 1.7 million, and so we saw about a 500,000 increase during the pandemic,” he said.

The state is encouraging recipients to visit the insurance exchange Connect for Health Colorado to find discounts and plans that work for their families. Many workplaces with health coverage also provide a range of options, Williams added.

Human services offices in many counties are getting flooded with calls following a decrease in SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, benefits, Williams said. Because of this, the state is encouraging Medicaid recipients to use the Peak website or app to manage their benefits and receive answers to their questions.

Amber Fisher

About the Author: Amber Fisher

I'm thrilled to be an assistant editor with the Longmont Leader after spending the past decade reporting for news outlets across North America. When I'm not writing, you can find me snowboarding, reading fiction and running (poorly).
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