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Medical Assistance & CHIP Renewals

Changes effective April 1, 2023 due to the end of a federal pandemic policy

Due to federal COVID-19 relief efforts, Pennsylvania and other states were able to continue Medical Assistance (MA) (also known Medicaid) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for most people even if they no longer met eligibility requirements unless they:

  • Moved out-of-state,
  • Passed away, or 
  • Asked to end their Medical Assistance (MA).

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 set April 1, 2023 as the end of continuous coverage for MA and CHIP. After April 1, 2023, DHS will return to normal eligibility processes. This means that all MA and CHIP recipients must complete an annual renewal to see if they are still eligible for coverage. MA and CHIP recipients should watch for their renewal and complete it as soon as they can to avoid a loss of coverage.

DHS and our partners at Pennie® (Pennsylvania's official health and dental insurance marketplace) are working hard to make sure that Pennsylvanians can get coverage either through MA, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or affordable coverage available through pennie.com.  


What is continuous coverage and why is it ending?

In March 2020, the federal government allowed states to keep Medicaid and CHIP coverage open regardless of eligibility as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief. Pennsylvania continued to send annual renewal packets during this time, but most people did not lose coverage for changes in income or for not completing their renewal. 

A federal law passed in December 2022 ends continuous coverage on April 1, 2023. As of April 1, 2023, DHS must end MA and/or CHIP coverage if a person does not complete their renewal or if they have income or other changes that make them ineligible for MA or CHIP at the time of their renewal.

Renewals will take place over 12 months, and no one will be disenrolled without having a chance to complete a renewal.

What does this mean for me?

You will get a renewal packet in the mail when it is time to renew your MA. You will start to receive information in the mail about your renewal 90 days before it is due.

If is very important that you complete and return the renewal forms. Please complete your renewal if you know your case has changed OR if nothing has changed. By completing your renewal, DHS can keep your MA or CHIP coverage open or connect your to other affordable health coverage options if you no longer qualify. There are four ways you can complete and submit your renewal:

  • By mail — Complete and return the forms by mailing them back in the provided envelope
  • Online — Complete your renewal online in COMPASS
  • Telephone — Call 1-866-550-4355 to talk to a customer service representative
  • In-Person — Complete and submit your renewal in person at any local county assistance office (CAO)

Completing your renewal will help DHS determine if you are still eligible for MA. If you are still eligible, your MA coverage will continue.

What do I need to do now?

The best thing you can do now is make sure your address and phone number are up-to-date with us so we can send you important information about your coverage. You can update your information by contacting the Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or 1-215-560-7226 in Philadelphia, or reporting it online through your COMPASS account.  

people updating contact information on a desktop computer and phone

COMPASS Web

Visit dhs.pa.gov/Compass to update your information and sign up for alerts, updates, and renewal reminders.

You can also sign up for alerts to get information faster when it is your time to renew. (See “How Can I sign up for text alerts?) If you cannot access COMPASS, you can update your contact information by calling the Customer Service CenterThe Statewide Customer Service Center is a point of contact for applicants and recipients to ask questions about their benefits, report changes to their information, or seek help in managing their benefits without having to go to a CAO.

visit our PHE Glossary...
at 1-877-395-8930 or 1-215-560-7226 in Philadelphia.


When do I have to renew my benefits?

Everyone's renewal date is different. You will start to get information about your renewal about 90 days before your renewal is due. You can opt-in to receive text messages from DHS. We will text you when your renewal packet is mailed, and you will also receive other important alerts and reminders about your benefits. See "How can I sign up for text alerts?" to sign up for text message alerts.

If you receive a renewal packet, you must complete it by the due date listed on the packet or your MA or CHIP coverage could stop.  If you are no longer eligible or you do not return your packet, you will receive a notice in the mail telling you when your coverage is scheduled to end.  

NOTE: Not all renewals will be sent right after April 1, 2023. The process of doing everyone's renewals will take 12 months, so be on the lookout for your packet when it is your turn to renew your coverage.  If you sign up for alerts, we can send you a text message when your renewal is mailed.


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Questions fading in and out include: 1.What if I lose my packet or it is not delivered? 2.What if I do not need Medical Assistance coverage anymore? 3.What does the continuous coverage have to do with Medical Assistance?
End of Continuous Coverage

FAQs

We have put together a list of some of the most common questions related to the end of the COVID-19 continuous coverage for MA and CHIP in PA.

Visit our FAQs


What happens if I do not return my renewal forms?

If you do not return your renewal, DHS will have to end your coverage. If that happens, you can reapply for MA and/or CHIP at any time. You may also get information about coverage available through Pennie if it is an option for you.

How can I complete my Medical Assistance renewal once I get it?

There are a few ways for you to complete your renewal.

1) You can complete the forms we send you and mail them back in the envelope included in the packet;

2) You can drop your completed forms off at your local County Assistance Office;

3) You can complete your renewal on our COMPASS website; or

4) You can complete your renewal by phone by calling 1-866-550-4355.


What happens if I’m not eligible for Medical Assistance anymore?

If your renewal shows that you are no longer eligible for MA, there are options for you to stay covered. If you are not eligible for MA and are age 19 or older, we will send the information you gave us to Pennie. Pennie can help you review your coverage options and learn about financial assistance that may be available to help you pay for your coverage.  We will send you a letter telling you that we have sent your information to Pennie. 

Children who are under 19 and not eligible for MA will be directly connected to CHIP and parents will learn more about coverage.  

If you believe we made a mistake when we conducted your renewal and found you ineligible for MA, you can appealAppeal rights are provided with any decision made about Medical Assistance (MA) coverage. MA recipients have the right to ask for a hearing to appeal a decision that affects their MA benefits. Information about how to appeal is included with all notices from us.
visit our PHE Glossary...
 that decision. Directions for how to appeal are on the notice you get from us.  You can also provide us with information that you did not give us in your renewal, and we can check to see if that changes your eligibility. 


What is Pennie?
Who can get coverage from Pennie? 

 

Pennie is Pennsylvania's official state-based health and dental insurance marketplace. Pennie lets you shop for plans available in your area and is the only place to get financial assistance (subsidies) to help pay for coverage. 

Pennie also provides local expert support to help you understand what plans are available to you and your family. Visit www.pennie.com/connect or call 1-844-844-8040 to learn more. Their support experts can help you over the phone, in person, or virtually in your preferred language. 

More about Pennie

What is CHIP?
Who can get coverage from CHIP?
 

 

CHIP provides high quality, affordable health coverage for families with children 19 or younger. 

CHIP covers all the care your child may need like:

  • well-child visits, 
  • doctors' visits, prescriptions, 
  • vision and dental care, 
  • and more. 

Learn more about CHIP at www.chipcoverspakids.com or by calling the CHIP Helpline at 1-800-986-KIDS (5437). 

More about CHIP


Where can I get help with Medicare Benefits? 

Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) offers free Medicare counseling to older Pennsylvanians. PA MEDI Counselors are specially trained to answer your questions and provide you with objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicaid, and Long-Term Care Insurance. The PA MEDI Helpline is available at 1-800-783-7067 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The PA Link can provide assistance to people with disabilities and older adults aged 60-64 who need services and supports.

More about PA Link









 Content Editor ‭[2]‬

 Content Editor ‭[1]‬