SCDHHS Launches Healthy Connections Medicaid Annual Reviews Website
The federal government declared a public health emergency (PHE) effective Jan. 27, 2020, due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in March 2020. The combination of these actions has had an impact on Medicaid enrollment across the country. To comply with the provisions of the FFCRA, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) paused the typical Medicaid eligibility annual review process effective March 2020. While the final end-date for the federal PHE remains unknown, SCDHHS recently launched a new website, www.scdhhs.gov/annualreviews, to better support Healthy Connections Medicaid members, providers and the communities the agency serves in anticipation of the eventual end of the federal PHE.
The annual reviews website currently includes important information Healthy Connections Medicaid members can use now, such as how to ensure SCDHHS has their current address and other household information. Medicaid members can update their information online, over the phone or by visiting a local eligibility office. Once an end date to the federal PHE is known, the website will also serve as a one-stop source of information related to the annual review process.
The agency’s goals, as it works toward the unwinding of the federal PHE and eventual restart of annual reviews, are to minimize the burden on Healthy Connections Medicaid members and ensure people who are eligible for Medicaid remain covered. Providers and other stakeholders can help the agency achieve this goal by relaying consistent and simple messages to Medicaid members. This includes sharing information about how a Medicaid member can update their address, which is available in the Healthy Connections Medicaid Communications Toolkit on the on the Resources page of www.scdhhs.gov/annualreviews.
About the Federal PHE and the Restart of Annual Reviews
The federal PHE has been continually extended in 90-day increments by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since it went into effect Jan. 27, 2020. It was extended today, Oct. 13, 2022. HHS has pledged to provide states with at least 60-day advance notice prior to ending the federal PHE. When the federal PHE ends, states will be required to review the eligibility of Medicaid members as they would when they are not operating under a federal PHE.
SCDHHS will send a Medicaid bulletin once it has been informed of an end date for the federal PHE by HHS. Guidance on Medicaid policy flexibilities that were issued specific to the federal PHE will continue to be posted at www.scdhhs.gov/covid19.