Minnesota officials extend initial renewal deadline for Medicaid recipients

Published 2:39 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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By Michelle Willey, Minnesota Public Radio News

State officials are moving the first deadline for eligible Medical Assistance recipients, giving 35,000 Minnesotans more time to complete and submit their renewal paperwork to maintain coverage.

“We worked with [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services], who is the federal partner for Medicaid, to work on gaining approval to give them some additional time,” said Julie Marquardt, acting state Medicaid director at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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The extension to Aug. 1 provides more time to “work with all of our community partners, our managed care organizations, our counties, our tribes, to do some additional targeted outreach to those that we may not have heard from, and see if we can ensure that they get their renewal information in on time so that we can avoid any gaps in their health care coverage,” she said.

This renewal process is part of a nationwide reevaluation of Medicaid recipients, sometimes called the “unwinding.” During the pandemic, people were allowed to remain on the rolls unless they requested to be removed.

The federal government boosted funding to states for doing so, in an effort to keep more people insured during a time when more needed urgent health care. But that stopped when the COVID state of emergency ended in April.

Since then, states across the country have been rolling out the renewal process with each taking a different approach. In Minnesota, renewals are taking place on a rolling timeline dependent on when a recipient initially signed up for coverage.

Marquardt said that so far they’ve processed over 60,000 people out of an expected 1.5 million who’ll need to renew over the course of a year.

In an effort to push those renewals forward, state officials are encouraging recipients to ensure that their address is updated, since the renewal forms come in the mail.

“I will say that the signs are relatively positive for us that people did respond and update information,” she said. “We aren’t seeing a high amount of return mail. So that’s always a good sign.”

Despite the extension, state officials say that people shouldn’t wait to return their documentation.

“I would really encourage people not to wait till the last minute, because that does still create a risk that you lose coverage for some period of time,” Marquardt said. “So if you have information that you’ve received, fill it out. If you need help, reach out to navigators and assisters. Those are available on our website. The goal here is to make sure that everybody who’s still eligible remains covered. And so there’s lots of people that can help you.”