The Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), in partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and HealthSource RI (HSRI), announced Wednesday at Progreso Latino in Central Falls that Medicaid renewals for households with children will restart on December 1.
“In Rhode Island, our goal is to keep people insured and to remain a state with one of the highest insured rates in the country at 97 percent,” said EOHHS Secretary Richard Charest. “To make that happen, EOHHS, DHS, and HSRI are working together and working closely with our many trusted community partners and stakeholders.“
Due to federal mandate, Rhode Island resumed Medicaid renewals in April 2023 for the first time since before the pandemic. This means that the State must review eligibility for everyone enrolled in Rhode Island’s Medicaid Program over the course of the following 12 months.
“It’s critical that all eligible families throughout Central Falls and communities across our state understand Medicaid renewals have restarted and support is available to help them through their recertification, particularly for those who may have communication barriers or other hurdles,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. “I’m grateful we’re elevating this work in our city by intentionally collaborating with DHS to launch local recertification events and support for our residents and families.”
Rhode Island chose to delay renewals for households with children to allow more time for outreach and preparation. Households with children, which includes anyone younger than 19 enrolled in Medicaid, will receive their renewal notice between December 2023 and April 2024.
“The strategy for renewals for families and children was very deliberate to ensure as much time as possible for them to be informed and to properly prepare,” said RI DHS Director Kimberly Merolla-Brito. “As we now approach this important renewal period, I want to remind families that Rhode Island will provide 12 months of continuous coverage for children in Medicaid starting in January of 2024, from their original renewal date. It is essential that we successfully complete this process but in doing so we must preserve and protect the health and well-being of our most vulnerable.”
There are three things those enrolled in Medicaid can do to get ready for their renewal:
Look up their anticipated Medicaid renewal date.
Update their contact information, so the State can reach them when it’s their turn to renew.
Watch the mail for their yellow or green notice and take action right away.
“According to our records, there are more than 75,000 households with children in Rhode Island who are currently enrolled in Medicaid,” said RI Medicaid Program Director Kristin Sousa. “It is of the utmost importance that households with children enrolled in Medicaid are aware of their renewal timeline, are opening any mail they get from the State, and know what resources are available to support them through this process.”
Rhode Island is dedicated to keeping eligible people covered by automatically renewing coverage when members have enough updated eligibility information on file. More than half of all eligible Medicaid members who are up for renewal each month are renewed automatically. If the State doesn’t have enough updated information on file to renew someone’s coverage automatically, they will get a notice asking them to submit additional information.
Rhode Island is also working to ensure that those who may no longer qualify for Medicaid are able to stay connected to coverage. The state has implemented a unique program to automatically enroll those just above the Medicaid income thresholds into a Qualified Health Plan through HealthSource RI, and further to provide two months’ premium assistance to those and other qualified customers, coupled with federal tax credits that are at an historic high. Through auto-enrollment and personalized outreach to those who may need to purchase a plan, HealthSource RI has enrolled nearly 4,800 former Medicaid members since the beginning of this process.
“HealthSource RI is proud to partner with our fellow state agencies to assist Rhode Islanders who can benefit from connecting through us to high-quality health coverage, and the advice and support to access financial help and select the plan that best fits their needs,” said HealthSource RI Director Lindsay Lang. “As the process begins to include families with children, we continue to be here as an important resource to help navigate the complexity of health coverage and ease the anxiety of making such a decision.”
Rhode Island is using a multi-pronged approach to make sure households with children are ready for their renewal and will stay covered, including regularly engaging stakeholders, advocates, and partners to ensure they are aware of renewals and how they can help. Progreso Latino, who has partnered with the State since renewals resumed in April through the quarterly Medicaid Renewal Community Support Mini-Grant Program, hosted EOHHS, DHS, HSRI, and local media at a press conference announcing renewals for households with children on Wednesday morning.
“It’s important that all community members, especially children, not experience gaps in their healthcare coverage,” said Progreso Latino Executive Director Mario Bueno. “Progreso Latino is dedicated to collaborating with the State to ensure that families requiring assistance with their Medicaid renewal receive the support they need.”
Melanie Rosso, a Rhode Islander with a young daughter covered by Medicaid, also spoke at the press conference about the importance of maintaining health coverage for her and her family.
“Having healthcare coverage is a peace of mind everyone should experience,” said Ms. Rosso. “Because of Medicaid, I was able to get to all my prenatal appointments. I also had a smooth delivery, and appropriate postnatal care. I don’t know what I would have done if I did not qualify for Medicaid.”
To learn more about Medicaid renewals and community support in Rhode Island, visit staycovered.ri.gov.
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