During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created several exceptions to how Medicaid, Marketplace plan subsidies, and Medicare Savings Programs handled annual recertifications confirming people’s continued eligibility for those programs. While these changes have been important to protecting continuity of care and coverage during the pandemic, as the PHE ends, older adults and people with disabilities could experience significant gaps in coverage and care unless CMS and states take steps to protect them.
This week, Medicare Rights and several other organizations sent a letter to CMS asking them to prioritize actions to protect those who have become eligible for Medicare during the PHE. These actions include providing direction and technical assistance to state Medicaid agencies and undertaking educational campaigns. If needed, avenues for relief should be established for people who miss their Medicare and Medigap enrollment periods, are improperly disenrolled from Medicaid, or are not enrolled in or assessed for a Medicare Savings Program to which they are entitled.
The end of the PHE poses coverage risks as states resume administrative work like redeterminations. Some individuals may have had changes in circumstances that will make them ineligible for current coverage, may have changed addresses that make them hard to contact, and may overlook the need to make coverage decisions or provide information. At Medicare Rights, we support and applaud the steps CMS has taken to make coverage transitions as painless as possible. We encourage a close look at measures that will enable older adults and people with disabilities to gain Medicare coverage seamlessly.
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