Annual Renewals Begin Again This Month, and More Than 250,000 Michiganders Could Be Affected
Action Steps: In preparation for the end of the “continuous enrollment rule,” MDHHS is encouraging providers to take the following steps:
- Verify beneficiary eligibility prior to services. Providers can visit the Eligibility and Enrollment webpage for step-by-step instructions.
- Remind beneficiaries to verify or update their contact information, or report any changes, online through MI Bridges. They can also call their local MDHHS office for help. Local office information can be found on MDHHS County Office webpage.
- Remind beneficiaries to open mail from MDHHS, and complete and return renewal documents.
- Review the PHE Unwind Policy Crosswalk to see which policies or L letters may impact your provider type.
Providers may e-mail ProviderSupport@michigan.gov with questions.
Many Michiganders on Medicaid face the loss of benefits over the next year as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is required to begin checking the income levels of approximately 3 million beneficiaries to determine if they are still eligible for the program. Beneficiaries going through the redetermination process will be required to provide updated information about such determining factors as their income, household size, and other factors that may affect their eligibility. This “redetermination” process could force more than 250,000 Medicaid beneficiaries out of the program.
The first batch of “Awareness Letters” outlining the change and what enrollees need to do moving forward (sample here) went out in March 2023, have continued in the months since, and will keep going out on a rolling basis through February 2024 (for May 2024 renewal month – see timeline here). Beneficiaries should receive this letter approximately three months prior to their renewal month. Redetermination for those initial recipients begins this month. Since March 2020, when the redetermination process stopped, MDHHS estimates that more than 760,000 individuals have been added to Medicaid.
Who Could Lose Their Coverage?
There are two groups who could lose coverage:
- Beneficiaries whose income is too high.
- Administrative reasons (they moved and did not receive the redetermination letter, received the letter but did not return the required information, etc.)
How We Got Here
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Medicaid enrollment in Michigan rose sharply. Congress offered states additional funding for Medicaid with one stipulation – that they maintain “continuous enrollment” throughout the public health emergency associated with the pandemic. Under this “continuous enrollment” rule, Medicaid beneficiaries could not be disenrolled unless they moved out of state, died, or asked to be removed from the program. States could not check the incomes of recipients and even if their income rose above eligibility levels (roughly $18,000/year for a single person or $37,000/year for a family of four) or they otherwise would no longer be eligible for benefits under the program, they could not be kicked out of the program.
According to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in February 2020, before the pandemic and associated lockdowns, layoffs, etc., began, there were approximately 2.3 million Michiganders on Medicaid. By September 2022, that number had jumped to nearly 3 million, a 28.2% increase. According to data from the House Fiscal Agency, these additional beneficiaries have cost state taxpayers approximately $150 million each quarter ($600 million annually).
In December 2022, President Biden signed into law a $1.7 trillion omnibus budget bill that, in part, requires States to reinstate the redetermination process by April 1, 2023, and then complete it within 12 months.