Context: From 2020 to early this year, eligibility reviews were suspended for people who use public benefits like Apple Health (Medicaid). This temporary policy change allowed stability and access to health care for many people during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s happening now: Starting in early 2023, the “unwinding” of the Public Health Emergency (due to decreased impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) means that eligibility reviews for public benefits are re-starting. Premiums for Apple Health for Kids and Apple Health for Workers with Disabilities are also starting again.
Who is affected: Washington state DSHS is already reporting a mass unenrollment of tens of thousands of people from subsidized health care plans. They estimate that up to 300,000 Washingtonians may lose coverage. People without homes, with little or no mail service, and other barriers to receive and respond to re-certification documentation are at great risk of losing coverage.
Here is what to do: To avoid losing Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage:
1) People should confirm or update mailing addresses and phone number with DSHS, or the Health Care Authority, or their Managed Care Organization (Molina, Community Health Plan of WA, etc.) as soon as possible.
2) Once received a letter from DSHS, they must complete the documentation for an eligibility review online, over the phone, or via mail. If people do not submit to an eligibility review by the deadline given by DSHS correspondence (as early as June 2023), they can lose their coverage!
NOTE: If people have already missed the renewal deadline, there is a 90-day grace period. Take action as soon as possible to review the covered person’s account, update contact information, and complete eligibility paperwork.
If someone does not have ALL the requested information, it’s better to submit a partial or incomplete form than nothing.
MAGI Medicaid recipients (people who are 19-64; children; pregnant people who are not disabled) should renew their coverage at www.wahealthplanfinder.org or call the Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.
Classic Medicaid recipients (people who are 65+, blind, or disabled) should renew at washingtonconnection.org or DSHS at 1-877-501-2233.
People who are no longer eligible for Apple Care due to changes in household size, income, or other life changes, may be eligible for another Qualified Health Plan, which may offer assistance to pay premiums. To apply for a Qualified Health Plan, visit wahealthplanfinder.org.