Late last week the Department of Health and Welfare completed its reevaluation of Idaho Medicaid participants whose benefits were protected under federal law during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all, DHW staff processed 153,196 renewals, and 31,900 were determined eligible, and 121,296 were ineligible.
During the pandemic, federal law required states to maintain Medicaid coverage for participants unless they died, moved out of state, or asked to be removed. The federal requirement expired March 31, 2023, and DHW started sending notices to the Medicaid protection population for eligibility re-evaluation in February.
This has been a large and important undertaking that DHW has taken very seriously. We committed more than 300 eligibility staff to the effort and an additional 42 staff from our call center, and our operation design and policy teams provided amazing support.
We made attempts to reach every Idahoan on Medicaid by mailing multiple renewal notices, sending text messages, and developing an online portal. We reached out via social media campaigns, collaborated with community stakeholders, made media appearances, and wrote extensively about the process on our website.
I also want to make sure Idahoans understand that people who were determined ineligible aren’t being cut off from healthcare coverage. Of those who were determined ineligible, 30% obtained coverage through the state’s health insurance marketplace at Your Health Idaho.
Moreover, Medicaid is always available to people who need it and who qualify for the program. Unlike private insurance that has specific open enrollment periods with limited exceptions, any person, including those who failed to complete a renewal, can apply for Medicaid coverage at any time.
Even if a person loses eligibility because they haven’t been able to respond in a timely way or only learn they’ve lost eligibility when they visit the doctor, Medicaid always remains available. Idaho’s program also includes an eligibility reconsideration period and will retroactively restore people who qualify as they reapply within 90 days.
Idaho was one of the most prepared and first states to begin the unwinding effort and has one of the most efficient timelines for completing reevaluations in the nation. This efficiency resulted because, unlike many states, Idaho never stopped completing Medicaid renewals during the COVID-19 public health emergency. That gave Idaho the ability to better support unwinding activities.
Finally, as we transition back to routine processing of Medicaid redeterminations, I want to acknowledge the huge amount of effort this required from our staff. The task of processing more than 150,000 renewals was in addition to their day-to-day workloads, and I’m humbled by their dedication to the people of Idaho to do this work efficiently and accurately.
For more details about Medicaid Protection in Idaho: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/medicaidprotection
I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend!
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.
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