What You Need to Know Ahead of New York’s Medicaid Purge

As U.S. states review who is eligible to receive Medicaid, we explain what is happening, when New Yorkers will be affected, and the steps Medicaid enrollees need to take to keep their coverage.

Jun. 14, 2023 5   min read

An older White woman reads a letter with a worried expression on her face

A significant change will begin soon for people enrolled on Medicaid in New York. As federal COVID-19 pandemic protections end, states are resuming eligibility reviews for public programs, including health care coverage.

This shift affects more than 9 million New Yorkers enrolled in public health insurance programs – including Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan. Other states have already started eligibility checks; New York will begin its own soon.

Explaining the ‘purge’

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, states annually re-enrolled their list of Medicaid and marketplace enrollees on an ongoing basis to make sure each individual receiving medical coverage still qualified for it.

However, at the start of the pandemic, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which – among other things – paused eligibility checks so low-income and disabled Medicaid recipients would keep their health care coverage.

As of March 31, 2023, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 allows states to resume annual re-enrollment for Medicaid eligibility and ending coverage for those who may no longer be eligible or may not submit proper documentation.

“Over the next 12 months, people on public health insurance in New York will need to re-enroll, which includes signing their applications, and submitting necessary income documentation for re-enrollment of their continued health care coverage,” said Lisa Poworoznek, Director of Financial Counseling for Rochester Regional Health.

Anyone currently enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or the Essential Plan started receiving notices in fall 2022 about renewing their coverage, with detailed instructions of how to stay covered.

Key deadlines

Coverage renewals will happen on a rolling basis, the same way they did before the start of the pandemic. If an individual or family’s coverage is slated to end at the end of September, for example, enrollees should receive notification at the start of August.

Anyone who temporarily loses their coverage through Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or the Essential Plan will still be able to enroll in New York State of Health for health care coverage through May 2024. Financial case managers or enrollment assistors are available through Rochester Regional Health to bridge any gap in health care coverage.

What enrollees need to do

There are some things that people on public health insurance programs can do ahead of time to prepare for their eligibility check.

Confirm any contact information: Make sure any mailing address, phone number, or email address are up to date and on file with the local Department of Social Services office, Medicaid plan, or New York State of Health.

Even if an individual updates their contact information with Medicaid, they should still send that updated information to their local Department of Social Services office to ensure their enrollment is secured for the next 12 months.

Sign up for alerts: If enrollees signed up for insurance through New York State of Health, they can sign up to get text message alerts about renewing their coverage. Those who enrolled in any Medicaid or NYS health care program can look for updates on the New York State Department of Health’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Be ready: Enrollees will receive a letter in the mail from New York State of Health or their local Department of Social Services when they need to re-enroll. The mailing will contain the necessary information about filling out forms, additional deadlines, and other details.

Ask an enrollment assistor for help: Certified experts can help individuals, families, and small businesses with health care enrollment and re-enrollment. Several of those experts work for Rochester Regional Health and are available to talk with patients about the enrollment process. The phone number for enrollment assistance at Rochester Regional Health is (585) 922-1001.

Medicaid enrollment data analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests the majority of individuals who lost their Medicaid coverage in other states were removed because they did not complete their renewal paperwork. Taking action right away is the best course of action individuals can take to keep their current health care coverage.

“Our financial assistance team is working with Monroe County and New York state to assist the 200,000 people living in our area who will need to re-enroll in public health insurance over the next 12 months,” Poworoznek said. “Our financial case managers are ready to meet with anyone who has questions or needs to go over their paperwork before it is submitted. We will continue to help anyone in need.”

NEXT STEPS Health Care Experts Here for You

Living without health insurance is a reality for thousands of people in our community. If you need help applying for health coverage, you can reach out to Rochester Regional Health’s financial case managers for free assistance.

Contact a Financial Case Manager
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