Spread the word on how to renew Medicaid coverage

Federal estimates shows up to 15 million people — 700,00 here in Illinois — could be dis-enrolled from Medicaid when continuous enrollment ends. We need to make sure people have the information they need to keep their coverage.

SHARE Spread the word on how to renew Medicaid coverage
As the requirement for Medicaid members to renew their coverage restarts after three years, we need to make sure people have the information they need to keep their coverage, writes Israel Rocha, CEO of Cook County Health.

As the requirement for Medicaid members to renew their coverage restarts after three years, we need to make sure people have the information they need to keep their coverage, writes Israel Rocha, CEO of Cook County Health.

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As the federal and state COVID-19 emergency ends, so too does a critical component that was essential to health equity during the pandemic: the provision to keep Medicaid recipients continuously enrolled in coverage.

Thankfully, COVID-19 cases have stabilized. Hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing. We are learning to live with this now endemic virus, and it is reasonable for the public health emergency to expire. Still, this doesn’t mean we can be complacent in ensuring people have access to care.

As the requirement for Medicaid members to renew their coverage restarts after three years, we need to make sure people have the information they need to keep their coverage.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates as many as 15 million people could be dis-enrolled from Medicaid, including 6.8 million who would likely still be eligible. In Illinois, federal estimates show as many as 700,000 residents could lose their coverage. A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that individuals who have moved within the last few years, have limited English proficiency or have disabilities are at greatest risk.

Members should update their contact information with the Illinois Department of Human Services at abe.illinois.gov or by calling 1-800-843-6154. Members can also find their renewal date a few months in advance through their online account. They should watch their mail for their renewal (also known as redetermination) paperwork and return it by the due date.

As anyone who has filed their own taxes knows, government paperwork can be complex. Cook County Health is here to help. Call 312-864-8200 to speak to a financial counselor, or visit our website, cookcountyhealth.org/redetermination, where we have resources in seven languages.

In keeping with our historic mission, Cook County Health will continue to provide care to all, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. We are using a variety of strategies to educate our patients and community members so that those who are Medicaid-eligible retain their coverage.

Approximately 1/12th of Medicaid members will be up for renewal every month through April 2024. There is no coverage cliff where all members will lose coverage en masse, but we need to keep up our steady education efforts throughout the next year.

Health coverage is associated with significant decreases in mortality, increases in patients with regular primary care visits, improved mental health, and an overage greater sense of well-being. As we head into the next 12 months of redetermination, I urge you to do all you can to spread the word about Medicaid renewal.

Israel Rocha, CEO, Cook County Health

Choice is best when it comes to schools

I disagree with the recent letter fromGary Kuzmanic praising Stacy Davis Gates’ op-ed championing neighborhood public schools.

Kuzmanic described the public school system as “a mish-mosh of underfunded, under-enrolled and under-performing neighborhood schools and selective enrollment and charter schools” that is a “nightmare for students and parents to navigate.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth. That “mish-mosh” is giving parents a choice of where they choose to send their kids

Having options is a good thing for all of us as consumers including parents of school-aged children.

Competition for students’ education will bring out the very best in schools. Taking away that option breeds mediocrity.

Tony LaMantia, Logan Square

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