Pritzker Administration launches campaign to protect Medicaid coverage
The Pritzker Administration is launching an all-out public awareness initiative to ensure Illinoisans retain their health insurance coverage when pandemic-era protections end and Medicaid eligibility verifications resume.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ public awareness effort, coined Ready to Renew, is a multi-platform outreach campaign that includes paid advertisements, print, digital and broadcast communication, and grassroots outreach to help Medicaid customers ensure they are ready for required upcoming coverage renewals. The primary goal of the Department’s Ready to Renew campaign is to help Medicaid customers who remain eligible ensure their coverage continues without disruption.
“In Illinois, we’re ensuring everyone has access to quality healthcare coverage—and one of the ways we are doing that is by spreading the word about the Medicaid renewal process,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Now that pandemic-era protections are ending, we are making sure every eligible Illinoisan has the information they need to renew their coverage—whether they’re watching TV, reading the newspaper, riding the bus to work, or listening to their favorite radio station.”
“We are doing everything we can to preserve coverage for everyone who is eligible,” said HFS Director Theresa Eagleson. “Historically, almost half the people who lose coverage did not respond to their renewal notice. If everybody pitches in to spread the word and help customers get ready, we can make a huge difference in the tragic gap in health equity for hundreds of thousands of people.”
Medicaid customers have not been asked to renew their Medicaid coverage since March 2020. When continuous enrollment ends, the Department must resume annual Medicaid eligibility verifications, also known as “redeterminations.”
HFS is urging healthcare providers and community organizations to help Medicaid customers get ready to renew their coverage. HFS has created a Ready to Renew Toolkit in multiple languages so that anybody who interacts with Medicaid customers can easily and regularly use the key messages and materials provided to help reach Medicaid customers.
The most important thing Medicaid customers can do right now is ensure their current address is on file with the Illinois Medicaid program. This is critical because the time-sensitive redetermination materials will be mailed to customers as their renewal date approaches. Customers may be required to supply HFS with additional information needed to establish their eligibility.
Customers can renew through the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) website by visiting abe.illinois.gov and clicking on Manage My Case to set up their online account.
Once there, customers should:
- Verify their mailing address is correct to make sure they get mail from HFS (addresses are listed in the ‘Contact Us’ tab).
- Look up their due date so they know when it is time to renew (due dates are in the ‘Benefit Details’ tab).
- Complete their renewal right away when they are due.
Customers can also call 1-800-843-6154 for help with their renewal.
The first Medicaid renewal notices will begin to arrive in early May for people whose renewal is due by June 1. Renewals for all Medicaid customers will be requested on a rolling basis over a full year. Customers who do not respond or are no longer eligible lose their Medicaid coverage a month after their due date. Anyone who is no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage will be notified and will receive information about how to enroll in alternative coverage.
It is important to know that everyone’s renewal date is different. Medicaid customers should keep a close watch on their mail for their redetermination materials when their renewal month is approaching. Illinois will mail renewal notices over a 12-month period to all customers, and the same process and timeline will be in place: customers with July renewal dates will receive their renewal materials in early June, customers with August renewal dates will receive their materials in early July, and so on, until all customers have been through the redetermination process. People can check for their renewal date online on at abe.illinois.gov by clicking on Manage My Case.
In Illinois, there will not be a one-time “coverage cliff” where everyone loses coverage at once. Instead, there are rolling renewals for Medicaid. If someone is denied due to income, Medicaid qualifies as previous coverage and people can transfer to available work-based health plans or visit getcoveredillinois.gov to shop for quality, affordable coverage provided under the Affordable Care Act.
Get Covered Illinois is the Official Affordable Care Act marketplace for Illinois. It offers free enrollment assistance and can help people find out if they qualify for financial help. Many people find plans for $10 or less per month after tax credits. Anyone whose circumstances change after they’ve lost Medicaid coverage is strongly encouraged to reapply for Medicaid coverage.
For more information, HFS is launching an information center at medicaid.illinois.gov, which will include answers to frequently asked questions, links to download the Ready to Renew toolkit, a link to abe.illinois.gov, and the HFS operational plan for transitioning out of the public health emergency.
View and download the Ready to Renew toolkit to help Medicaid customers keep their coverage.