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Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program to Begin ‘Unwinding’ After Pandemic; Program Participants Will Be Required to Renew Coverage

WV Press Release Sharing

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — More than 200,000 West Virginia children and their parents will have to renew their membership in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) after President Biden ends the nation’s public health emergency later this year.

In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily waived certain Medicaid and CHIP requirements and conditions. The easing of these rules helped prevent people with Medicaid and CHIP—in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories—from losing their health coverage during the pandemic.

However, states will soon be required to restart Medicaid and CHIP eligibility reviews.

According to some estimates, when states resume these reviews, up to 15 million people could lose their current Medicaid or CHIP coverage through a process called “unwinding.”

In an effort to minimize the number of people that lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage, CMS is working with states and other stakeholders – especially during the current Back-to-School period – to inform people about renewing their coverage and exploring other available health insurance options if they no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.

In July, CMS awarded $1.48 million to Think Kids, Inc. for a three-year outreach and enrollment project through the Connecting Kids to Coverage HEALTHY KIDS 2022 program. CMS issued 36 cooperative agreements in 20 states, investing more than $49 million to increase health care coverage for children, parents, and families.

CMS views Medicaid and CHIP continuous enrollment unwinding as two phases:

Phase 1: Prepare for the renewal process and educate Medicaid and CHIP enrollees about the upcoming changes.

Phase 2: Ensure Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries take the necessary steps to renew coverage, and transition to other coverage if they are no longer eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.