The country’s states want a clearer idea of when the official COVID-19 public health emergency will end – and along with it, the continuous Medicaid eligibility that remains a major component of the federal attempt to ensure health care coverage for millions of Americans during the pandemic.

Even though two administrations have now regularly renewed the PHE for three-month periods and the current administration has promised governors 60 days’ notice of when the PHE will end, the nation’s Medicaid directors have written to congressional leaders asking for Congress to “…provide states with certainty around the end of the Medicaid continuous enrollment requirement.”

Declaring the current need to wait for the end of this period “untenable,” they seek 120 days’ notice of the official end of the PHE.

Their concern centers around the unwinding of the continuous eligibility for Medicaid that was a major part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  In exchange for expanded Medicaid eligibility and an increase in federal Medicaid matching funds, states were prohibited from reviewing the eligibility of people on their Medicaid rolls and removing those who no longer qualify.  Now, states are concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the loss of the additional federal Medicaid funding and what they believe will be a challenging process of redetermining eligibility for those currently participating in their Medicaid programs.

Providing 120 days’ notice would help meet this challenge, state Medicaid directors believe, and this is why they have written to congressional leaders to ask them for such notice.

Continuous Medicaid eligibility has been especially important for community safety-net hospitals, such as those that belong to the Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals, because of the especially large numbers of low-income, uninsured, under-insured, and Medicaid-covered residents of the communities such hospitals serve.

Learn more about what the states want and why they want it from this letter from the National Association of Medicaid Directors.