Illinois Keeps Its Eye on the Back Door: Medicaid Renewals

By Stephanie Altman, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

In Illinois, we’ve been busy enrolling more than 260,000 newly eligible adults through Medicaid’s front door. But we’ve also had our eye on Medicaid’s back door to make sure we don’t lose Medicaid-eligibles through the annual renewal process.

The state has been working with us at the Shriver Center and other stakeholders on a “Medicaid Redetermination Project” to streamline the process for Medicaid renewals (sometimes called “redeterminations” or “REDEs” ). This includes work on the regular annual renewals and new MAGI-based renewals. Some key practices that are already helping to facilitate renewals in Illinois include:

  • using electronic data from verification databases to pre-populate forms with updated information prior to sending them by mail to recipients;
  • providing different forms (scroll down to “client redetermination notices” to see the different forms in English and Spanish) for the MAGI and non-MAGI populations to eliminate confusion and reduce the need for recipients to answer questions that are not relevant to their eligibility
  • shortening the renewal forms to under 3 pages.
  • the ability to reinstate cases—if the case is cancelled for non-compliance with the renewal process—without the need to re-apply or appeal.

We still have work to do to improve the Illinois renewal process both in policy and in practice. We are monitoring the initial mailing of renewal forms to assess whether there is a high percentage of non-response or terminations. We are also trying to collect more information and clarification on the Illinois renewal process through the Medicaid Advisory Committee. We are also working to ensure that Illinois allows at least 30 days to respond to renewal requests and at least 90 days to reinstate cancelled cases.

We hope that other states will also keep their eye on the back door and share strategies about what is working for them with Medicaid renewals.