AHIP, the American Health Insurance Plans, reports that effective communication plays a vital role in supporting the unwinding of Medicaid in certain states. As of February 2023, states have initiated the process of reassessing the eligibility of over 90 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid, with decisions on eligibility coverage beginning on April 1. A recent analysis by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests that approximately 18 million individuals could lose their access to Medicaid coverage.
AHIP has released a new issue brief outlining the approaches taken by states to assist individuals during the Medicaid redetermination process. Notably, some states are employing robust communication campaigns to facilitate this unwinding. Here are a few examples:
Alaska: The Alaska Department of Health, in collaboration with the University of Alaska Anchorage, has implemented multiple strategies to ensure that Medicaid enrollees update their contact information. They organized a webinar called “Medicaid Renewals Pop-Up ECHO,” allowing enrollees, providers, and advocates to engage in a conversation with the Department regarding the upcoming Medicaid redetermination process. The state has also utilized local newspapers to advise enrollees to update their contact information and provided alternative methods for doing so. To reduce wait times, Alaska has established a dedicated hotline and virtual call center for enrollees seeking to update their contact information.
District of Columbia (D.C.): D.C.’s Department of Health Care Finance has launched a public awareness campaign called “Don’t Wait to Update,” which urges Medicaid enrollees to ensure that the Medicaid agency possesses their most up-to-date contact information. They have created a multilingual web portal, “District Direct,” accessible through a mobile app, to facilitate contact information updates. D.C. employs various strategies for their public awareness campaign, including virtual meetings hosted by Medicaid agency staff, an advertising campaign highlighting steps to renew Medicaid coverage, and outreach through community-based organizations assisting Medicaid enrollees.
Illinois: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services initiated the “Ready to Renew” campaign in mid-March, employing various communication channels to raise public awareness regarding Medicaid redeterminations. The campaign includes social media, websites, mailings, community outreach programs, and email communications. To streamline the redetermination process and maintain effective communication with enrollees, the state offers online forms for updating contact information, a dedicated telephone number with an Interactive Voice Response system, and caseworkers who proactively reach out to enrollees via phone, text, or email as needed. Communication materials are available in over 15 different languages.
Mississippi: The “Stay Covered” campaign in Mississippi utilizes diverse outreach methods such as social media, a dedicated website, postcards, community advocacy programs, flyers, and email communications to remind Medicaid members to keep their contact information current. Mississippi Medicaid has introduced a simple online form for enrollees to conveniently update their contact details, which has already garnered thousands of submissions. Additionally, the state provides a specialized phone line with an Interactive Voice Response system, enabling enrollees to effortlessly update their mailing addresses and other relevant contact information.
These states are employing effective communication strategies to support individuals throughout the Medicaid redetermination process. Through initiatives like webinars, public awareness campaigns, dedicated hotlines, online forms, and multilingual materials, they aim to facilitate contact information updates and maintain open lines of communication with enrollees.