The End of Medicaid Continuous Enrollment

Are you over 65? Do you still have Medicaid as opposed to Medicare. Did you turn 65 during the height of the pandemic? If so, you should pay close attention to this article. Many people who turned 65 during the height of the pandemic remained on Medicaid despite losing eligibility for the program due to a policy called the “Continuous Coverage Requirement.” This requirement was designed to keep people on health insurance when they might need it most during a pandemic. However, Congress recently rescinded that requirement. This means that folks who fall into the above categories may lose Medicaid as early as May since they have aged out of Medicaid and into Medicare. If you want to learn more about the end of the Continuous Coverage Requirement and Medicare enrollment periods stemming from the end of this requirement, then keep on reading this article.

The Continuous Coverage Requirement was enacted during the early days of the pandemic. It allowed many people to stay enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic. One result of this policy is that many folks who turned 65 and would have otherwise aged into Medicare remained on Medicaid despite no longer being eligible for the program. However, beginning in May, normal eligibility screenings for Medicaid will resume. This means that if you are no longer eligible for Medicaid at the time of your screening, you will be dropped from Medicaid. Screenings will take place over the twelve month period beginning May 1, 2023. The state is projecting that hundreds of thousands of Coloradoans will lose Medicaid as a result of this issue.

Fortunately, there are options for those who lose Medicaid coverage due to the end of the Continuous Coverage Requirement. Relevant to this article, those who aged into Medicare during the pandemic will have three months from the date they lose Medicaid or are notified about their loss of Medicaid, whichever occurs later, to apply for Medicare. During this individualized special enrollment period, individuals can join a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, switch Medicare Advantage plans or prescription drug plans, drop a Medicare Advantage Plan and join Original Medicare, or drop Medicare prescription drug coverage altogether. There is also the Medicare General Enrollment period that is currently ongoing and lasts until March 31 of this year in which folks can apply for Medicare. 

Finally, if you fall below certain income and asset limits, you might be able to keep Medicaid as a secondary source of insurance despite aging into Medicare. This program is called the Medicare Savings Program. There are three types of Medicare Savings Programs, which can help you with your Medicare Part B premiums, and, if applicable, your copayments and deductibles. Currently, the maximum amount of money you can make to qualify for one of these programs is $1549 a month before taxes if single, $2080 a month before taxes if married. You also need to have less than $9,900 in assets if single, and less than $15960 in assets if married.

Does this make sense? If not, or if you need more information or assistance applying for Medicare, please contact Benefits in Action. You can reach us at 720-221-8354 or via email at info@benefitsinaction.org. We are happy to help you transition to Medicare or a Medicare Savings Program.

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