Post-Pandemic Changes May Impact Medicaid Coverage
By Tonya Sams
The COVID pandemic caused numerous aspects of our lives to change. This included changes to Medicaid.
Medicaid offers health coverage to millions of people nationwide including those with low incomes, disabilities, children, senior citizens, and pregnant women. The federal government created the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which allowed those who were enrolled in Medicaid before or after March 2020, protection from being disenrolled.
Now that Medicaid has returned to pre-pandemic guidelines, many enrollees may be in danger of losing their benefits if they have not submitted their Medicaid renewal packets.
Ohio residents that have had their Medicaid benefits automatically renewed will receive notice from their local Job and Family Services office notifying them of their approval. Those who are not eligible for automatic renewal will receive renewal packets in the mail, but the packets must be sent back to the county promptly to avoid being disenrolled. This process will continue for all upcoming renewals for the next several months. If you lose benefits, Medicaid allows a 90-day reinstatement period to submit the renewal form to redetermine eligibility for benefits.
Completed Medicaid renewal packets can be returned in several ways:
- by mail, by returning a completed and signed renewal packet to the local Job and Family Services office,
- in-person, by returning a completed packet at the local Job and Family Services office,
- over the phone by calling the Medicaid Consumer Hotline at 800-324-8680, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- online through the Ohio Benefits eligibility portal. Visit ssp.benefits.ohio.gov, but only if you have already created a Self-Service Portal account. Otherwise, you must submit the renewal through one of the methods listed above.
Even if you can’t complete your renewal in the Self-Service Portal, you can still use your account to report changes and upload documents. The portal also allows you to request text and voice alerts regarding updates to your case. Again, applicants can call the Medicaid customer service line at 800-324-8680 for assistance.
If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, there are other options available for health insurance. You can see if your employer offers coverage, or you can see if coverage is available on the federally facilitated Marketplace at Healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596. Help is also available through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. For more information go to getcoveredohio.org, or call 833-628-4467 for help with finding new coverage.
Are you having trouble with the Medicaid renewal process or do you disagree with your Medicaid termination? Legal Aid may be able to help! Call Legal Aid at 888-817-3777, or complete an online intake 24/7 at lasclev.org.
Tonya Sams is the Development and Communications Assistant at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.