5 things to know about how states, insurers are approaching Medicaid redeterminations

Insurers are ramping up campaigns and adding staff to let Medicaid members know about redeterminations. 

Beginning April 1, states can begin removing Medicaid members who are no longer eligible for the program, or do not reverify their eligibility, from their rolls. During the public health emergency issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, states were not permitted to disenroll Medicaid members except in limited circumstances. 

Here are five things to know about how states and managed care plans are preparing for the unwinding of the public health emergency. 

  1. Many Medicaid enrollees don't know about redeterminations. According to a survey conducted in December and published Feb. 15 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 64 percent of Medicaid members or those with family enrolled said they have heard nothing about upcoming redeterminations. 

  1. Managed care plans are contacting members through many different channels. Kelly Munson, president of Aetna Medicaid at CVS Health, told Becker's the payer is preparing for redeterminations by trying to contact members in the way that works best for them, through an omnichannel campaign in every state where it operates managed care plans.

    "Medicaid members, by and large, are harder sometimes to contact because they move or change phone numbers frequently, so we're making sure that the state has that," Ms. Munson said. "... We are reaching out to members through social media, text, digital, websites, mailing, phone calls, to remind them [about redeterminations]."

    Other payers are also creating robust campaigns to let members know they need to reverify their eligibility. Health Net is launching a "review to renew" campaign to inform its millions of Medicaid members in California about upcoming redeterminations.

    Minneapolis-based UCare is providing 16 grants to health systems, community organizations and clinics to mitigate the impact of the policy change, including Mayo Clinic, CentraCare, Essentia Health and Olmsted Medical Center.

  1. For the first time, Medicaid members can be reached by text and automated calls about reenrollment. A recent Federal Communications Commission decision to allow texts and calls without violating robocall and robotext provisions could make contacting Medicaid enrollees easier.

    Kate McEvoy, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told Becker's it was a welcome decision, particularly with allowing for text messages. 

    "That's hugely important because everyone is using smartphones as our primary means of connecting in general," she said. "It's a way to get in contact with those who may have changed addresses midstream in the year, and it also helps states to fulfill the federal requirement of contacting people through multiple means." 

  1. States can take vastly different approaches to timelines. In Arkansas, state leaders are aiming to complete the redeterminations process in six months, the fastest of any state, according to Politico. 

    "It's not surprising to me that we have a state like Arkansas — and now we're beginning to hear from other states as well — where the pressure to move fast is going to be overwhelming," Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, told the outlet. "I think the government has seriously underestimated just how many people are going to fall through the cracks." 

  1. Some will hire more staff. A survey of 29 state Medicaid agencies by Kaiser Family Foundation found around 1 in 5 are planning to bring on new staff to process eligibility checks. 

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