Due to a change at the federal level, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will begin Medicaid beneficiary recertifications that could result in coverage termination or a reduction in benefits. The recertification process is called the Medicaid continuous coverage unwinding and it will begin on April 1, 2023. Since March 2020, under the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, states have been required to maintain enrollment of nearly all Medicaid beneficiaries and their level of coverage to ensure they continued to receive health care and services through Medicaid during the pandemic regardless of changes in eligibility status. This continuous coverage requirement will end March 31, 2023.
People with Medicaid who were already enrolled or newly enrolled during the continuous coverage period have continued to receive the same level of benefit coverage since March 2020. The state’s goal is to ensure people who remain eligible for Medicaid continue to be covered and those who are no longer eligible know their potential options, such as buying coverage, often at a reduced cost, through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
As recertifications take place over the next 12 months, up to 300,000 North Carolinians may lose full health care coverage or see a reduction in benefits. Most Medicaid terminations or reductions could begin as early as July 1, 2023, although some could lose coverage as early as May 1, 2023.
NC Medicaid has been working with county Departments of Social Services and other partners to reach as many of its 2.9 million beneficiaries as possible to explain what they can expect and their potential options to obtain health benefits. Beneficiaries will be notified by mail, email and other forms of communication during this recertification period. NC Medicaid will also hold webinars and post updates on social media, among other measures to increase awareness.
To continue Medicaid health care coverage, beneficiaries will work with their county Department of Social Services to update contact information, including correct mailing address, phone number and email. This information can be updated online by beneficiaries by opening an enhanced ePASS account at epass.nc.gov or at their local DSS.
People with Medicaid coverage may receive a letter from their local DSS for additional information. People should check their mail and follow instructions in any letters by the stated deadlines to help avoid a gap in their Medicaid coverage.
Questions about the Medicaid annual recertification process can be answered by their local DSS office.