Alert for Medicaid Recipients: Follow Three Important Steps to Protect Your Health Coverage
Alert for Medicaid Recipients: Don’t Lose Your Medicaid Eligibility
Follow Three Important Steps to Protect Your Health Coverage
Kitty Finklea, RDN, AFAA-CPT
In South Carolina, Medicaid provides health coverage for adults and children through the program Healthy Connections, which also includes CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). If you are a member of Medicaid Healthy Connections or have a child in CHIP, a program update will be sent in April 2023 with information on how to maintain coverage. What many members may not know is they could lose benefits if any step in this update process is not completed.
Medicaid requires that every participant in Healthy Connections or CHIP complete a renewal each year. This process, called the annual eligibility review, determines if the individual is still eligible for the program. During the COVID crisis, the annual renewal process was put on hold by the federal government starting in March 2020, and no paperwork had to be completed to stay in the Healthy Connections programs. Congress recently set the date for the annual renewals to start again beginning April 1, 2023. This process will take a year to review all members individually.
Beginning in April of this year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) can either validate eligibility in their system and mail a “continuation of benefits” letter or, if they are unable to validate, an “annual review form” is mailed and the member must complete the form and return it by the deadline. If the form is not completed or returned in time, the member will lose health care coverage.
What does this mean for Medicaid members in Healthy Connections and CHIP programs?
Medicaid recipients need to proactive in this process to ensure proper information is provided to SCDHHS with the following steps:
- Make sure your contact information is correct. If you have moved or you want to double check your contact information, there are three ways to contact Medicaid Healthy Connections:
- Online at apply.scdhhs.gov
- Call Healthy Connections at (888) 549-0820 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Visit your local SCDHHS office. To find your local office, visit gov/site-page/where-go-help
- Check your mail regularly. SCDHHS will mail you a letter April 1 or after (depending on your place in the process) about your coverage. This letter will let you know if you need to complete a renewal form to see if you still qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.
- Complete your renewal form (if you get one). If you get a renewal form, complete it right away. This will help avoid a gap in health insurance coverage. Fill out the form and return it to your state immediately to help avoid a gap in your coverage.
If you are not eligible for Medicaid health coverage or lose your coverage, you’ll be referred to the federal health insurance marketplace to find coverage online at healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-25966.
This alert is critically important for anyone who receives Medicaid health coverage. By following the three steps outlined above, you can help protect your health by keeping your coverage or finding new coverage. If you have any questions, please contact Medicaid Healthy Connections for more information at (888) 549-0820.