On August 4, 2023, Rural Development’s Office Multifamily Housing sent out the following information:

USDA is encouraging Department-wide communication regarding health coverage for rural Americans.  In partnership with you, our stakeholders, we are requesting your assistance in getting the word out on this important subject. To advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure access to high-quality affordable health coverage, your efforts will help prevent tenants in Rural America from losing Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage Program (CHIP) coverage because of the end of the COVID-19 Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE).

Medicaid is a health coverage assistance program for children, adults, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors who qualify due to their income status or other criteria. CHIP provides health coverage to eligible children through Medicaid and separate CHIP programs.

Prior to the pandemic, states were required to renew coverage for people with Medicaid or CHIP coverage at least once a year, and to disenroll individuals who no longer qualified for coverage. In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Congress took action to ensure millions of people did not lose access to critical health care, including preventing states from terminating a person’s Medicaid coverage, even if they were no longer qualified.

Now that the Federal PHE has ended, federal law requires states to restart regular Medicaid and CHIP renewals. This means that over the next 12 months, everyone with health care coverage through Medicaid or CHIP will need to renew their coverage.

We encourage you to support our collaborative efforts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help prevent eligible tenants from losing Medicaid or CHIP coverage. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Publicly postand distribute The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) News Release on flexibilities to minimize coverage losses among children and families, for your tenant’s awareness.
  2. Encourage tenants who may be enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP to take the following actions:
    • UPDATE your contact information with your state Medicaid or CHIP agency.
    • RESPOND to the Medicaid/CHIP renewal form when it arrives to keep your coverage.
    • PARENTS should respond even if you don’t think you’re eligible – your children could still be eligible!
    • CONSIDER OTHER COVERAGE OPTIONS: If you are no longer eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, check if you can get coverage through your employer, through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaceat HealthCare.gov, or through Medicare. 
  3. Partner with your state Medicaid agency to spread the word about renewals. You can find contact information on your state Medicaid agencies here.
  4. Utilize CMS’s Communications Toolkit(available in multiple languages, including English and Spanish) to execute the following:
    • Remind tenants you interact with over the phone about renewing their Medicaid or CHIP coverage and to update their address with their state Medicaid agency. See CMS’s toolkitfor sample call scripts.  
    • Launch a text messaging campaign to reach tenants who maybe on Medicaid or CHIP. See CMS’s toolkitfor sample text messages.
    • Promote social media content and graphics from CMS’s toolkiton your social media platforms, incl. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
    • Distribute flyers at community events to remind tenants to renew their health coverage. Check out the CMS website, Additional Materials and Resources section, for sample and fillable flyers to use.
  5. Check out CMS’s “All Hand on Deck” Fact Sheet additional calls to action for partners to help keep children and families covered.

Together, we can make sure our communities have access to quality, affordable health coverage. You can play critical role in making this a reality by helping us make sure people stay covered. For state-specific questions, please have your tenants contact their state Medicaid offices.

Thank you for your partnership.

The USDA’s Multifamily Housing Program, Rural Development