When the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency (PHE). During the PHE, many changes were made to the Medicaid program, including eligibility, administration, and policies. Although the PHE was extended to mid-January 2023, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is planning for its end. A website was created to keep Medicaid beneficiaries, physicians, providers, and community partners informed.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), states that maintained continuous Medicaid enrollment through the last day of the month in which the PHE ends, qualified for a temporary 6.2 percentage point Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase. Once the PHE ends, states will have up to 12 months to return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations. The Secretary of HHS has indicated that it would provide 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE to allow states to plan.
Michigan qualified for this FMAP increase by putting on hold the routine annual review of member’s eligibility. Additionally, to ensure uninterrupted eligibility, MDHHS implemented operational changes to make sure individuals were not disenrolled, lost coverage, or changed Medicaid programs during the PHE.
Beginning the first of the month after the end of the PHE, MDHHS will return to their normal renewal processes. For example, if the PHE were to end in mid-January, the continuous Medicaid enrollment process ends on January 31. MDHHS would need to verify eligibility for November renewals. Since the State will be given 60-days advanced notice of the end of the PHE, Medicaid will have begun communicating with beneficiaries with a February renewal prior to the end of the PHE.
Currently, MDHHS has started a campaign to beneficiaries educating them on what happens at the end of the PHE. They are encouraging beneficiaries to update their demographics, report household income changes and check their mail.
MDHHS is also encouraging physicians and providers to:
- Verify Medicaid patient eligibility prior to services. Physicians and providers can visit the Eligibility and Enrollment webpage for step-by-step instructions.
- Remind patients to verify or update their contact information, or report any changes, online through MI Bridges. They can also call their local MDHHS office for help. Local office information can be found on MDHHS County Office webpage.
- Remind patients to open mail from MDHHS, and complete and return renewal documents.
COVID-19 Medicaid Policy Bulletins and L Letters
In response to the COVID-19 PHE, MDHHS has issued many Medicaid policy bulletins and L letters which changed existing policies. Many of these policy bulletins and L letters are time limited. MDHHS is encouraging providers to review the Medicaid policy bulletin and L letter webpages to see which policies or L letters may impact your provider type. The policies that will change due to the end of the PHE will be fully promulgated. This means there will be a 35-day public comment period and an issuance of a final bulletin at least 30 days prior to the effective date.