Medicaid renewals began April 1; Members should verify contact information with DHSS, watch for renewal information
DE | The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has resumed the standard eligibility renewal process for Medicaid and CHIP recipients as of April 1, 2023, as required by federal law. Annual renewals were not required from March 2020 to March 2023 during the federal Public Health Emergency designation. Federal legislation, signed into law on December 29, 2022, set a specific date to resume renewals, regardless of when the Public Health Emergency ends.
As of January 2023, approximately 315,000 Delawareans were enrolled in Medicaid. With annual renewals underway, DHSS estimates 40,000 to 50,000 Delaware residents who were receiving continuous coverage due to the Public Health Emergency may no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, also known as the Delaware Healthy Children Program, and may be disenrolled.
Between April 2023 and April 2024, DHSS is reviewing every member’s eligibility and, where approved by state or federal rules, using available data sources to automatically renew members. If DHSS cannot auto-renew a person’s coverage using available and approved data sources, the member will receive a pre-populated renewal letter by mail. Delaware Medicaid and its Managed Care Organization partners are also using texts, email, and social media when available to enhance outreach efforts.
A member can complete their renewal through a variety of ways: online through Delaware ASSIST, by phone, by mail, by fax, or at any Division of Social Services (DSS) office locations. Individuals who need assistance filling out their renewal can call the Division of Social Services Customer Service Unit at 1-866-843-7212.
“Over the past three years, the state’s public assistance programs have been a crucial safety net for so many Delawareans,” said Molly Magarik, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). “As we are undertaking the monumental task of restarting eligibility renewals again, our goal is to ensure Medicaid members who continue to be eligible stay enrolled and that those who are determined to no longer be eligible get connected to affordable coverage.”
The most important thing Medicaid and CHIP members can do is to update their mailing address, email and phone numbers with DMMA and sign up for electronic notifications. Contact the Change Report Center at (302) 571-4900, Option 2 or send changes via fax to (302) 571-4901. Changes and notification preferences can also be made at ASSIST Self Service https://assist.dhss.delaware.gov/. Individuals can find out more information about the renewal process at de.gov/medicaidrenewals.
“There are many Delaware residents who qualified for Medicaid coverage for the first time during the Public Health Emergency who have never had to complete an annual renewal before,” said Steven Costantino, Director of Health Care Reform for DHSS. “This is why it is critical that we have the most accurate information available for each member, and that individuals on Medicaid watch out for communication and take the necessary steps to renew. We do not want anyone who is eligible for Medicaid to be disenrolled.”
Health care providers and others who provide services to members can help by reminding their Medicaid members to look for and complete their Medicaid renewals this year and to encourage them to start exploring other coverage options if they believe they will no longer qualify for their current coverage.
Special Enrollment Period Authorized for Health Insurance Marketplace
To help individuals who are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage, the federal government has authorized a Special Enrollment Period for the Health Insurance Marketplace. Individuals who lose their coverage through Medicaid and CHIP any time between March 31, 2023, and July 31, 2024, will be eligible for a marketplace special enrollment period. After a person is determined eligible for the marketplace, they will have 60 days to choose a plan, and their coverage will start the first day of the month after the plan is selected.
Many enrollees can find plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace that cost less than $10 a month. Plans cover services like prescription drugs, doctor visits, urgent care, hospital visits, and more.
Delawareans who no longer qualify for Medicaid should ensure that they do not experience a gap in health insurance coverage, but choosing the right private health insurance plan can seem daunting. Trinidad Navarro, the Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Insurance, suggests that a good first step would be to visit ChooseHealthDE.com to locate a local, federally registered/approved Navigator for assistance in enrolling in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.
In Delaware, assistance enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace is available from certified Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator teams at Westside Family Healthcare and Quality Insights. To be connected to a trained Navigator, call:
- Westside Family Healthcare: New Castle County: 302-472-8655, Kent or Sussex counties: 302-678-2205
- Quality Insights: 1-844-238-1189
Some individuals who are found to be ineligible for Medicaid may be eligible for or already enrolled in Medicare. If that’s the case, the Department’s Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB) (302-674-7364) is ready to help with locating supplemental Medicare and Prescription coverage.
“Our DMAB team is friendly, knowledgeable and approachable, and they are always there to help older Delawareans get the best possible coverage to supplement their Medicare plans,” said Commissioner Navarro.
Be Aware of Potential Insurance Scams
Additionally, Commissioner Navarro pointed out that buyers should beware of offerings that say they are “plans” that are actually not health insurance.
“As a general rule, if an offer seems too good to be true — it probably is,” Commissioner Navarro said. “Please be careful when searching for insurance on the Internet as you may accidently access a website that looks like it is advertising health insurance when it actually is not.”
For example, buyers may receive aggressive advertising from discount plans or discount cards offering discounts on health care for a monthly fee. Another example is so called “health sharing” plans, which allow buyers to join a group or association that will take a participant’s monthly payments, put them in a savings account or trust with other participants’ money, and then help pay some of the participant’s health care costs, as needed. Neither of these “plans” are health insurance plans, and participants do not have the same protections as they would under major medical health insurance.
It has also been reported that scammers may be calling or texting individuals that receive Medicaid asking for money to help with the Medicaid renewal process. Scammers might pretend to be from a real organization or a government agency. They can use phone, text or email to try to steal money or something of value from you. If someone contacts you and requests money for help with your Medicaid renewal they are not a representative of DHSS. DHSS will never ask you for money or for your credit card information.
The Delaware Department of Justice also reminds residents to be extra diligent about telephone scams by:
- Never agreeing to pay any fine or other money over the phone, including by purchasing a money order or gift card at a store and providing the number to someone over the phone or by email. Government agencies do not take payments this way.
- Not answering calls from unknown numbers or unfamiliar persons. Scams can be “spoofed” to appear to be coming from a local number, even though the call is originating from out of state or overseas.
- Hanging up on aggressive callers, particularly those who threaten arrest.
Consumers who believe they may have been scammed may call the Consumer Protection Unit’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at (800) 220-5424, or e-mail email@example.com. Consumers can also report scammers’ phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry and file complaints at www.donotcall.gov.
For more information about the Medicaid renewal process, visit de.gov/medicaidrenewals.