Medicaid enrollment grew substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many covered individuals stand to lose their benefits once the corona virus public health emergency (PHE) ends unless they act to re-enroll.
Under normal circumstances, Medicaid members were expected to renew – also called recertify or redetermine – benefits yearly to remain enrolled. The renewal process makes sure you remain eligible. However, states that received enhanced federal Medicaid funding during the pandemic under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) were prohibited from disenrolling covered individuals while the PHE remains in effect. The goal was to protect low-income families and individuals from economic and health disruptions resulting from the pandemic.
Renewing after the Public Health Emergency is lifted
During the PHE, New Jersey and many other states either put a hold on renewals or extended coverage times. So even though the state sent out renewal forms to NJ FamilyCare members, it did not disenroll those who failed to return renewal forms. When the PHE ends, the state will return to the usual practice of renewing Medicaid recipients. The resulting concern is that many New Jersey residents could lose coverage because they will be unaware of the need to renew. This may be because they have moved and the state no longer has a current mailing address on file, or because members have not received or sent back completed renewal forms.
Anyone who moved during the pandemic must make sure contact information (name, address, phone number and email address) is current with NJ FamilyCare and county social services offices. Your NJ FamilyCare health plan, such as Amerigroup, can also send updated contact information to the state, as long as you provide it. Many people moved during the pandemic and may have not remembered to notify the state. Members who do not report new addresses and don’t receive and return their renewal packets are at risk of losing coverage at some point. Amerigroup members can call 1-800 600-4441 to update their address. It’s that simple.
Why is renewing your benefits important?
Renewing your benefits makes sure you keep your coverage for another year, if you remain eligible. If you do not renew, you could lose your benefits and not be able to get the medicine or services you need. This means you may have to pay for doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, labs and tests, or immunizations (shots) on your own. The average emergency room (ER) visit in the U.S. costs $2,032. Protect yourself from these expenses by renewing your Medicaid benefits.