Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, existing Medicaid recipients were initially protected from benefits termination after March 18, 2020, through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency (PHE). The PHE was renewed on January 11, 2023, and is now due to expire in mid-April. Although it is possible the PHE will be extended again, some of the Medicaid protections will be ending soon and will impact many Social Security claimants.
Under federal guidelines updated on January 5, 2023, states must initiate a renewal process for all individuals enrolled in Medicaid following the end of the continuous enrollment condition, a process referred to as “unwinding”. Many recipients will not have returned a renewal for nearly 3 years, if at all, so the process will be unfamiliar.
New York State set forth its timeline on January 13, 2023, under which renewals will start in March 2023 in New York City and April 2023 in the rest of the state. All 7+ million Medicaid recipients will receive renewals over a 12-month period.
This year, there are also significant (positive!) changes to eligibility for Medicaid and the Medicare Savings Program in New York that could affect your clients. Non-MAGI Medicaid covers people age 65 and over, disabled, and blind. The increased income and asset limits for non-MAGI Medicaid, and increased income limits for the Medicare Savings Program, are based on percentages of the Federal Poverty Levels (FPLs). While the new FPLs have been released, counties cannot use these levels until the state Department of Health announces them via General Information System (GIS) messaging. As of January 1, 2023, the 2022 FPLs are being used with the increased income limits.
Advocates should inform clients or other known Medicaid enrollees to update their address and be on the lookout for important Medicaid notices. Those enrolled in Medicaid for the Disabled, Aged 65+, Blind through their local district can update their address with the county’s local District Social Services. For questions about these changes, advocates can email the Health Team at Empire Justice Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.