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Jan. 20, 2023
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COVID-19 Continuous Coverage Unwind Update 

Community Partners:

We are writing to let you know that we will be starting the return to normal medical assistance eligibility renewal processes, with renewals due in May and noticing beginning in March. This COVID-19 Continuous Coverage Unwind update is based on the recent federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included language that ends the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement, and federal guidance issued on Jan. 5, 2023

Thank you for your ongoing collaboration throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). As you have heard in our stakeholder presentations over the last couple of years, Colorado has focused its unwind planning in partnership with you on achieving three key operational goals: 
1) maximize member continuity of coverage,
2) focus on the member experience and smooth transitions in coverage, and 
3) minimize impact to county and eligibility workforce.

The above timeline aligns with our operational planning, systems change timelines, and county readiness in support of these shared three key operational goals. Your partnership will be essential as we move to the next phase of our planning and execution of those plans. 

In partnership with the counties, and after many months of planning and preparation, we have opted to take the entire time allowed (12 months, 14 months including noticing), leveraging the member’s annual renewal date and our modernized, member-centric processes. Returning to normal renewal processes will include disenrollments where appropriate. With continuity of coverage a primary goal, handoffs to our Connect for Health Colorado partners are a critical strategy to ensure those eligible for marketplace health plans are made aware of their coverage options as well as the availability of financial subsidies that make coverage more affordable. 

This May renewal timing decision was selected in consultation with our county partners. Several factors were considered. First, this aligns with when new federal poverty levels will be active in the system, which ensures members are renewed with the new levels in place, thereby reducing county and member rework. Second, this timing is also consistent with our coordinated and collaborative plan already developed with a vast array of stakeholders, including you. Third, it provides the time needed for operational or system adjustments while still limiting state budget impacts. Last, this takes into account county workers' increased workload implementing changes to the SNAP program beginning in February, given the new federal law. We encourage you to help get the word out about the SNAP changes as they will impact many Colorado families; please see their partner toolkit for resources.  

We are working on refining our operational plans, timelines, communication toolkits, websites, partner frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other materials. Please join us at our Jan. 25 Community Partner webinar to learn more, and please visit our website as we work to achieve our shared goals of keeping Coloradans covered through this transition, focusing on the member experience and smooth transitions in coverage, and minimizing impact to county and eligibility workforce. 

As always, we appreciate your partnership.

Kim Bimestefer
Executive Director
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NEWS UPDATE: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra formally extended the Public Health Emergency (PHE) on Jan. 11, 2023. The PHE can be extended for up to 90 days at a time. HHS has confirmed that they will provide 60 days advance notice before an end to the PHE. If the PHE will end on April 11, 2023, we expect to receive 60 days advance notice by Feb. 10, 2023.
Coming Soon: More communication tools

The Department has been working with stakeholders to develop a communications toolkit to prepare partners and members for the return to normal renewal processes. The “Take Action on Your Renewal” toolkit will be released in February 2023 and will include language for email, newsletters and social media communications to Health First Colorado and CHP+ members.

For the latest information on PHE Planning, visit: hcpf.colorado.gov/phe-planning.
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