Parallon’s eligibility and advocacy team is beginning to see the ‘new norm’ of Medicaid eligibility as state and Medicaid employees become familiar with their routine of working from home in addition to new changes allowing for signatures and more virtual processes.
The biggest updates over the course of the past month include Oklahoma passing Medicaid expansion through public vote. It is the first state to expand Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Missouri plans to bring Medicaid expansion to public vote in August after going back and forth on the idea for quite some time.
Below we breakdown the latest subsidized coverage changes for July 2020, federal Medicaid process updates and state agency closures.*
Here is the July 2020 Medicaid State of the Union:
Alabama Medicaid Updates
A non-partisan group, the Alabama Arise, is now advocating for Medicaid expansion. Governor Kay Ivey is considering the idea of expanding Medicaid, but is concerned about the state paying the share of the cost.
Alaska Medicaid Updates
Anyone currently on Medicaid will stay active without having to renew until next year, and the state is processing applications timely.
California Medicaid Updates
The state of California approved immediate enrollment flexibility for presumptive Medicaid and using telephonic signatures for those with COVID-19; it covers inpatient, but it is not retroactive, meaning eligibility begins the day of application and does not cover previous months.
Florida Medicaid Updates
DCF offices are closed to the public, but call center operations and online application processing remains in place. The state is allowing us to submit an application without signature, but still requiring an authorized representative form to be signed.
Georgia Medicaid Updates
DFCS lobbies are closed to the public.
The house of representatives and the Senate passed Bill 1114, extending Medicaid to new mothers which would extend coverage for six months. Currently, Medicaid only covers two months postpartum. The final step in the process is for it to be approved by CMS through an 1115 waiver.
Indiana Medicaid Updates
Indiana’s governor announced the extension of the public health emergency to July 4. The state continues to suspend fast track payments and provider enrollment revalidation.
Kansas Medicaid Updates
Medicaid expansion is no longer up for consideration for 2020. Previously, it was with the Senate as lawmakers debated a constitution amendment on abortion, but it did not pass.
Kentucky Medicaid Updates
Five insurance companies were awarded contracts worth approximately $8 billion per year to manage most of Kentucky’s Medicaid. A 13-year-old dispute with 54 rural hospitals over Medicaid reimbursement rates has recently been settled. The state of Kentucky and the federal government will pay $383 million to settle with the hospitals that stated being underpaid.
Louisiana Medicaid Updates
Medicaid members who are approved on or after March 18 for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will remain open for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period. The Medicaid Eligibility Verification System (MEVS) will not show an end date for EMS coverage as it normally would.
Mississippi Medicaid Updates
Medicaid in-person offices are closed, but caseworkers are available via phone and are able to apply online with no signature.
On June 30, CMS approved the State Plan Amendment 20-0011 COVID-19 Cost Sharing Waiver effective March 1, 2020.
Missouri Medicaid Updates
In response to COVID-19, Missouri has made a change to the COVID-19 positive application process. Patients must now meet disability requirements and a completed MRT packet must be submitted. Missouri Medicaid is going back through all applications to see if MRT packets will need to be submitted on applications already completed and ones that were approved. Electronic signatures are only allowed on isolation patients who have doctors’ orders to be in isolation.
Medicaid expansion will be brought to public vote on the August 4 primary ballot.
Nevada Medicaid Updates
DWSS lobbies are closed to the public.
No electronic signature is required, but paper authorized representative forms must be signed.
New Hampshire Medicaid Updates
The state is allowing in-person office hours for emergencies by appointment only.
North Carolina Medicaid Updates
The state of North Carolina has loosened some of its guidelines such as allowing applications to be submitted via phone or email, along with a verbal attestation. They have a freeze on terminating benefits unless the beneficiary moves out of state or voluntarily terminates eligibility.
Legislators overwhelmingly approved a Medicaid package that increases next year’s funding by over $460 million. It directs the program beginning its shift from traditional payments to managed care by July 2021.
Oklahoma Medicaid Updates
Oklahoma voters passed Medicaid expansion on June 30. The state has the second highest uninsured rate behind Texas, and it is still up for discussion how the state will be paying for the expansion.
Tennessee Medicaid Updates
On June 9, CMS approved the modification to also apply to CHIP under the federal Section 1135 Waiver, making it effective from March 1 through the termination of the of the public health emergency.
Texas Medicaid Updates
As Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order to suspend elective, non-medically necessary surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties to ensure hospital bed availability.
Maurice McCreary, Jr., has been named the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s chief operating officer, effective July 20.
Utah Medicaid Updates
A new COVID-19 uninsured test coverage is effective beginning June 1. The new program is designed for patients who do not qualify for regular Medicaid. It is retroactive, but does not cover inpatient stays. Patients must not be eligible for HPE, be a US citizen, Utah resident and have no health insurance.
Virginia Medicaid Updates
All DSS offices are closed to the public, but applications can be submitted presumptively via dropbox or online. The state is allowing for in-person office hours for emergencies by appointment only.
The grace period for presumptive Medicaid applications ceased in February.
Additionally, the state is allowing verbal consent on traditional Medicaid applications.
*This article was published July 24, 2020.