During this time of uncertainty, you may be concerned about the status of a Medicaid application or current Medicaid benefits for you or a loved one. Recently, there have been some changes in policies and procedures to ensure that if you are eligible to receive Medicaid benefits, your application will be efficiently reviewed to get you what you need. If you are currently receiving Medicaid benefits, guidance has been issued to prevent those benefits from being terminated, except for limited circumstances.
On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring a National Emergency concerning the recent COVID-19 outbreak. The Deputy Secretary of NC Medicaid recently distributed a letter outlining Special Policy Procedures in light of this Public Health Emergency. This letter contains guidelines regarding many aspects of Medicaid applications, accessibility to services, and termination. Below is a summary of the Deputy Secretary’s letter:
- Social Distancing
According to the Deputy Secretary of NC Medicaid, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services may close office lobbies and restrict face-to-face interactions to ensure individuals are practicing social distancing. However, if lobbies are closed, both applicants and beneficiaries must be clearly informed about the alternate methods for contacting their local Department of Social Services, including by telephone, mail and e-mail.
- Limited Terminations
Notably, regarding case terminations, “as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by the U.S. Congress this week, states may be eligible for an emergency increase in the Medicaid federal match rate with certain requirements.” As long as we are in a Public Health Emergency, North Carolina must not terminate Medicaid eligibility unless the individual moves out of state, or the beneficiary voluntarily requests termination of Medicaid benefits. Therefore, the state cannot terminate your Medicaid eligibility unless the above-mentioned reasons apply to you.
If you are applying for Medicaid, your self-attestation must be accepted for all eligibility criteria, except citizenship and immigration status. For citizenship and immigration status, verification is still required. However, the case worker assigned to your application must allow reasonable opportunity for you to provide these verifications. This acceptance includes state residency, financial resources, and medical expenses, among other criteria.
- Fees Waived
Currently, all individuals who are required to pay an enrollment fee for NC Health Choice, or an enrollment fee or premium for Health Care for Workers with Disabilities will be exempt from that requirement until further notice. The state has been instructed not to request payment for enrollment fees or premiums at this time.
These new policies and procedures are effective immediately for applications and re-certifications, including applications or re-certifications currently in process. If you have any concerns regarding your Medicaid benefits or the benefits of a loved one, or questions about how these new policies and procedures may apply to you, please contact the attorneys with Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, P.A.
We have several attorneys on staff who are prepared to answer your questions and who are equipped to assist in addressing your concerns.