Erie, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh and Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich today met with the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A) to discuss how the Shapiro Administration and local partners are working together to support Pennsylvanians through federal changes to Medicaid and CHIP renewal requirements with the goal of keeping them covered.
"Pennsylvanians at every age and every stage of life deserve the dignity and peace of mind in knowing that they can go to the doctor or fill a prescription when they need to. DHS has been proud to work with community partners across the state to spread the word about Medicaid renewals so that Pennsylvanians can keep their coverage or be referred to other options," said Secretary Arkoosh. "It is so important that anyone who receives their health coverage through the state updates their contact information with DHS and they complete their Medicaid renewal on time so they don't risk a gap or loss in coverage."
The federal public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed for individuals to remain enrolled in Medicaid even if they became ineligible, except in certain circumstances. This is also known as the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement. A federal law ended the continuous coverage requirement on March 31, 2023. Now, all Pennsylvanians receiving Medicaid or CHIP must once again complete their annual renewal when it is due to determine if they are still eligible for coverage. No one will lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage without first having an opportunity to renew their coverage or update their information.
"The Department of Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging are committed to helping older adults who are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage learn about other coverage options and assistance, such as PACE, our Pharmaceutical Assistance program, or calling PA MEDI for help enrolling in Medicare," said Secretary Kavulich. "With the federal changes also impacting insurance for children, we also want to ensure those grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship caregivers review the important information for those children so they also continue receiving coverage. By taking this easy step, older adults will maintain coverage for themselves and the young people in their lives without risking a lack or loss of coverage."
To make sure they are getting updates about their renewal and benefits, Pennsylvanians should make sure their contact information is up to date with DHS. They can do this and report changes in their personal circumstances and check their renewal date:
- Online at www.dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS
- Via the free myCOMPASS PA mobile app
- By calling 215-560-7226 (or 1-877-395-8930 if outside Philadelphia)
Renewals will be completed over 12 months through April 2024, usually at a person's normal time of renewal. If a person is found ineligible for coverage or does not complete their renewal on time, their Medicaid coverage will end. Pennsylvanians who believe their coverage was ended incorrectly can appeal the termination or return their packet within 90 days of the deadline to have their renewal reconsidered. Medicaid recipients also may provide their renewal information to their local County Assistance Office or by calling 1-866-550-4355.
Pennsylvanians who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will be referred to other sources of affordable medical coverage, like CHIP and Pennie, so they have no lapse in coverage.
Pennie is Pennsylvania's official health insurance marketplace and the only place to get financial assistance to help lower the cost of high-quality coverage and care. Those who are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage can apply for coverage through pennie.com, while some individuals will have their information securely transferred from Medicaid or CHIP for an easier enrollment process. Customers can simply call Pennie Customer Service at 1-844-844-8040 or find Pennie-certified pros at pennie.com/connect.
P4A represents the 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that serve all 67 counties. AAAs serve as the front door for aging services in the community and provide information about services while also assisting in obtaining access to and coordinating those services. The primary goal of AAAs is to help older Pennsylvanians remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
"The health and wellbeing of all of us as we age is a top priority for P4A and the AAA network. We are appreciative of Secretaries Kavulich and Arkoosh for reinforcing the crucial action that older adults and kinship caregivers should take to prevent a gap or loss of health care coverage for themselves and the young people whom they are caring for. The AAAs are on the ground serving older adults in their community, and we urge any older adult to reach out to their local AAA for more information on health-related and other supports for which they may be eligible," said P4A Executive Director Rebecca May-Cole.
To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP renewals and to access educational resources, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/staycovered.
For more information on health insurance options available to Pennsylvanians, visit www.pa.gov/healthcare.
Contact: Brandon Cwalina, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Eilber, Aging: email@example.com