Medicaid and the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Q: What is the Public Health Emergency (PHE)? 
A: The PHE was declared in 2020 by the federal government because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The PHE created a “continuous coverage requirement” for Medicaid. This means that people who receive Medicaid were not required to renew their eligibility, as they were required to do in the past to maintain coverage.  Since the PHE was declared in 2020, the State has been working to protect benefits by not terminating Medicaid coverage (with just a few exceptions) and meet the needs of nearly a third of our residents who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

Q: When is the PHE ending, and what does this mean for Medicaid recipients in Rhode Island?
A: The Federal Government has not yet given an end date for the public health emergency. Rhode Island Medicaid does not make the decision on when the PHE ends or is extended.  To stay up to date on the status of the PHE, visit www.phe.gov. When the PHE ends, RI Medicaid will be required to renew each member’s eligibility prior to taking any action on a case. Click here to learn more about renewing your Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

Q: What does this mean for me?  
A: The most important thing you can do is to make sure all your information is up to date. This is the best way to be sure the State can reach you with important and time sensitive information. It will also help us keep you connected to health insurance.

Q: How can I update my account information?
A: You can update your account information and communication preferences in several ways:

  • Online:  Access your account at https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/HIXWebI3/. HealthSource RI also hosts a live web chat, which is staffed during business hours, and has live call center staff available to assist customers in English or Spanish.
  • Contact your managed care organization (MCO) – Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Tufts Health Public Plan (RITogether) or UnitedHealthcare Community Plan (UHCCP) - to update your contact information and be sure to give them permission to share this information with the State. (Option not available to DCYF, Medicaid-Medicare Plan members, or traditional fee-for-service Medicaid members)
  • By Phone: Call the RI Department of Human Services (DHS) Call Center at 1-855-697-4347 (Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m.- 3p.m.) or HealthSource RI (HSRI) at 1-855-840-4774 (Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
  • In Person: Staff at DHS offices can assist customers in person. A list of DHS regional offices is available here.

Customers can call United Way’s 211 for help accessing their Customer Portal account or to learn more about the technology resources available.

Q: How will I know when this will affect me?
A:
When it is your turn to renew, you will receive a letter from Medicaid in the mail. If your Medicaid coverage is going to end because you are no longer eligible, you will be given information on how to apply for health insurance through Health Source RI.

Currently, you can choose the option to receive text messages via your Customer Portal account.  This is a great way for us to share timely information with you and easy to set up; all you need is a Customer Portal account and a cell phone number!  To opt-in for text messages, visit your “My Profile” page at https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/HIXWebI3/ and under the “My Contact Information” section, check the “Sign up for Text Messages” box.  Clicking the check box displays instructions on how to complete the process and validate your cell phone for text messaging.  If you have any trouble opting in, you can contact HSRI or DHS call centers and talk to a customer service representative.