When the COVID-19 public health emergency ends (PHE), state Medicaid agencies face the daunting task of resuming normal eligibility and enrollment operations after a nearly two-year pause. During the PHE, states were required to keep all Medicaid beneficiaries continually enrolled in order to qualify for additional federal Medicaid matching funds. As a result, total Medicaid enrollment grew by nearly 15 percent from over 70 million in February 2020 to 81 million in February 2021, based on the most recent data from CMS. But, a number of states are estimating that tens of thousands of enrollees are likely to lose coverage soon after the PHE ends.
Last December, CMS issued guidance to states that outlined the agency’s expectations and timeline for states to return to normal operations. However, there is widespread speculation that the Biden Administration may update the guidance, hopefully giving states more time to return to normal operations and putting more safeguards in place to protect eligible individuals from losing coverage.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families are teaming up for a two-part webinar series on what the end of the PHE means for Medicaid eligibility and enrollment and how health advocates can contribute to their state’s planning process and monitor implementation. In the first webinar on August 2 at 2pm EDT, we’ll explain how states are expected to approach the post-PHE return to normal operations, what states can and should be doing now to prepare, and how health advocates can engage. In the second webinar on September 8 at 2pm EDT, state health advocates will share their experience in providing input to the state’s planning process and highlight proactive ways to ensure that eligible children, families, and individuals don’t lose coverage at the end of the PHE.
Unwinding Webinar Part 1