April 05, 2023
Kansas City, Kan. – At the start of the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a public health emergency (PHE) that expanded Medicaid eligibility and access to care. President Joe Biden’s administration announced earlier this year that the PHE will expire May 11, 2023.
The change will affect some patients at The University of Kansas Health System. Medicaid members should promptly contact their state Medicaid programs to check or renew eligibility. Our experts are dedicated to helping those affected understand and navigate the transition.
What the PHE expiration means for patients
- Expanded Medicaid eligibility will end. For the last 3 years, PHE legislation increased federal funding for Medicaid to ensure continued coverage through the pandemic. This provision will cease with the May 2023 expiration. As a result, many patients currently enrolled in Medicaid will no longer be eligible for coverage. The return to the normal enrollment process is called the Medicaid “unwinding.”
U.S. states are developing plans to support their residents losing Medicaid coverage due to the unwinding. The health system is committed to helping affected members seek alternative health coverage. Our top priority is providing exceptional care to every patient.
- Fully government funded COVID-19-related healthcare will end. PHE legislation included full government funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccinations. This complete coverage for COVID-19-related care will stop in May 2023. After the expiration, COVID-19 care costs will be shared between patients and insurance carriers, with personal cost responsibilities varying by health plan. Patients may become responsible for costs that were previously fully covered during the PHE period.
Health system staff will reach out to patients who may need to take action to transition to Medicaid alternatives. If you have questions or require assistance, our financial advisors are here to help. Contact us by phone 913-588-7850 or email FinancialCounselor@KUMC.edu.
Frequently asked questions
If you signed up for Medicaid during the pandemic – after February 2020 – you need to reconfirm your eligibility.
- Make sure your state has your latest contact information so they can send you renewal information.
- The state of Kansas has begun sending renewal letters to members. Missouri will send electronic communications to members beginning June 1, directing members to its current online portal.
Renewal forms will ask members to update their eligibility information, including income, household size and employment status. You can learn more about renewals here or visit your state’s Medicaid site. For most patients at the health system, this will be Kansas or Missouri.
Visit HealthCare.gov to search for a plan that is right for you and check if you qualify for assistance with premiums. Watch for a special enrollment period from March 31, 2023, through July 31, 2024, for those losing Medicaid coverage due to the PHE expiration.
We are here to help. The health system recommends Enroll365, an excellent resource for finding affordable health insurance coverage. Additionally, our patient financial advisors are committed to supporting you. Call us at 913-588-7850 or email us at FinancialCounselor@KUMC.edu. We will help patients understand the change, find appropriate coverage and maintain access to care.
In addition to considering premium costs, select a plan for which The University of Kansas Health System is in-network. If you choose an out-of-network plan, you may be unable to get care with our providers, or you may be responsible for a higher percentage of costs of care here. This will be especially important for patients who live in Missouri. Call us at 913-588-7850 or email FinancialCounselor@KUMC.edu for assistance finding an in-network plan.
Yes. After the expiration, Medicaid members will need to begin regularly verifying their Medicaid eligibility. Before the pandemic, states consistently checked the eligibility of Medicaid members to continue coverage month to month. For example, if a covered member began earning more money or became eligible for health insurance through their employer, they might become ineligible for Medicaid. These enrollment checks were paused with the PHE and will resume after the May 11 expiration. Medicaid members must begin completing these checks after the May 11 expiration to maintain Medicaid coverage.
PHE legislation included telehealth flexibilities designed to ensure safe healthcare during the pandemic. Most of these changes will continue beyond the May 11 emergency expiration, extending through 2024. For example:
- Patients may still connect to telehealth appointments from any location, including their homes.
- Care providers eligible to provide telehealth services will continue to include audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists.
- Federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics will still be authorized to provide telehealth services.
The PHE declared at the start of the pandemic provided full government coverage for the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment. After the PHE expiration, healthcare costs related to COVID-19 will be calculated as for any other medical condition. Patients should expect cost responsibilities to be consistent with their insurance plans, such as copays or coinsurance cost-sharing. Out-of-pocket costs to patients will vary based on insurance coverage.
Learn more about billing, insurance and financial support at the health system.