April 24, 2023

Public Health Emergency Planning header

Bill Ending COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration


On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed a joint resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency with immediate effect. CMS has reported that they no longer have the authority to approve any new flexibilities tied to the 1135 authority – including new disaster relief state plan amendments (SPA) – prospectively or retrospectively. 

The end of the COVID-19 national emergency is separate from the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), which is slated to end on May 11. This means that states can no longer submit new COVID-19 emergency waivers under 1135 emergency authority. HCPF’s current waivers remain tied to the HHS Public Health Emergency. Flexibilities for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), authorized by 1915(c) Appendix K, will also not be impacted as they are tied to the COVID-19 PHE. 

Scammer Alert

Scammers are targeting Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members through text messages and phone calls. They are telling members they must pay to keep or renew their health coverage. 

Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) never asks members or applicants for money, bank account or credit card information, social security numbers, or any other financial information through text or over the phone. Please help us spread the word and report any suspected scam activity to the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit.

HCPF is developing communication resources for partners to help raise awareness about potential scams. Look for more in the coming weeks.

Partner Communication Resources

HCPF has been working with stakeholders and partners over the past year to develop materials and messaging to help members prepare for the return to regular renewal processes. Multiple toolkits with downloadable flyers and member messaging are at our PHE Planning resource center

Frequently Asked Questions about the return to regular renewal processes have been updated and will be added to over the coming months. We have also created a Health First Colorado renewal information webpage just for members with frequently asked questions. This page is available in English and Spanish.

What can you do?

You can help by downloading and hanging this flyer to raise awareness that members will need to take action to renew their Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus coverage. You can also download and hang this flyer to help people who no longer qualify for Health First Colorado learn about their options for other health coverage.

News Coverage

On April 7, 2023, the Colorado Sun hosted a panel of health insurance experts in anticipation of upcoming changes to Medicaid coverage. Watch the replay here: Colorado Sun Webinar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the renewal packet look like?

Sample renewal packets are available to view and download on the Understanding the Renewal Process webpage. 

What does ex parte mean?

Some members are automatically renewed based on the most recent information already on file for them from other data sources. This process is known as ex-parte. These members will not receive a renewal packet, but will receive a “notice of action” letter that lets them know they are still eligible for coverage. Some members renewed through ex parte may still have to respond to letters asking for additional information about their income after the renewal process.

What percentage of members are renewed through the ex parte (automatic renewal) process?

HCPF estimates approximately one third of all members (includes both MAGI and non-MAGI enrollees) could be automatically renewed and not have to complete the renewal process. When looking at “active” members-defined as those who have been determined eligible and continue to be eligible (not part of the continuous coverage)-in the last year, the automatic renewal number is expected to be higher. For example, the average active non-MAGI ex parte rate over the last six months was approximately 50%, compared to 32% for the entire population. For those members who need to take action on renewals, the non-MAGI population is more likely than other populations to return their renewal packets. Members who are renewed through ex parte may need to reply to additional letters asking for more information after the renewal process.

Why is a signature required for the renewal to be considered complete and how do I sign my renewal packet?

Due to a new federal requirement, members or an authorized representative must sign their renewal packet. There are several ways to do this:

  • Paper: Mail, fax, or bring the completed signature page and updated renewal form pages to the member’s local county office.
  • Online: Complete and sign the renewal through PEAK. If the renewal was submitted to an eligibility site without the signature page, the member could upload the signed signature form via PEAK.
  • Telephone: Record the member’s renewal attestation and have their telephonic signature recorded through the member’s local county office. This will include the rights and responsibilities being read to the member. If a member is unable to write, they may sign with the letter “X” if the signature is witnessed by someone who prints their name. 

What provisions will end when the Public Health Emergency ends on May 11, 2023?

The end of the PHE will mean rolling back certain flexibilities that were in place for our programs. Some changes we have made permanent; for example, Colorado has made telehealth permanent so members can continue to access those services thanks to actions by the General Assembly in 2020 when they passed Reimbursement for Telehealth Services (SB 20-212). 

Coming soon: HCPF will publish a special edition newsletter that will provide more information about the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, 2023. 

Additional Frequently Asked Questions have been added to include answers to question themes for prior webinars.

Partner Webinars

HCPF will be hosting quarterly informational sessions about the end of the Continuous Coverage Requirement and the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. These webinars are geared toward community partners such as advocacy organizations, providers, and community organizations that may provide other assistance to Health First Colorado or CHP+ members (housing, social services, etc). 

Upcoming Webinar Information
When: April 26, 2023, 1 - 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Register in advance for this webinar: Zoom Registration.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For the latest information on returning to normal renewal processes and other communication resources, visit the COVID-19 PHE Planning webpage.
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