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Medicaid Continuous Coverage Requirement Unwinding to Begin in April

On March 31st, the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement that has been in place since the pandemic began 3 years ago will expire.  

Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prohibited states from disenrolling individuals enrolled in Medicaid during the public health emergency. Over the past 3 years, the public health emergency has been renewed every 90 days. The recently passed 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) ends the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement from the COVID-19 public health emergency. Beginning April 1st, states can terminate Medicaid enrollment for individuals no longer eligible for the first time in 3 years.  

After months of advocacy, DHS plans to use 12 months (instead of only 6 months) to unwind the disenrollment freeze to resume regular pre-pandemic eligibility and enrollment operations. 

According to the latest estimates from DHS, 1 in 4 children enrolled in Medicaid are at risk of losing coverage when the process to redetermine eligibility begins.  

PPC has two key objectives during the unwinding process: 

  • Ensure that children who are determined to no longer be eligible for Medicaid are quickly connected to the option of the Children's Health Insurance Program to avoid gaps in coverage.
  • Ensure children who remain eligible for Medicaid maintain their coverage without experiencing inappropriate terminations or disruptions in coverage (churn) that often impact children more than the adult population.      

The unwinding process ahead will be a huge responsibility for the state. Some families have never gone through a renewal process before. 

Under the CAA, all states must provide 12 months of continuous eligibility for children in Medicaid beginning in January 2024 (currently only available for PA children up to age 4). PPC strongly recommends that the Shapiro Administration immediately implement this policy for children ages 4 to 21 rather than waiting for it to go into effect next year. That would give children and their families added peace of mind during what is likely to be a complicated unwinding process. Check out the latest coverage that features comments from PPC: 


Thriving PA Discusses WIC Participant Brief; Submits Comments to USDA on WIC Food Package

Policy Director Maggie Livelsberger recently joined WESA's The Confluence morning show about the Thriving PA campaign's work focused on improving WIC enrollment numbers and program modernization. She highlighted recommendations from current and former WIC participants on how to strengthen the program and was joined by Tayler Clemm, a mother, community wellness advocate, and former WIC client. Due to declining participation in the WIC program, Thriving PA partnered with community-based organizations to host 7 focus groups statewide to learn what barriers families face in accessing WIC and what changes participants would like to see to make WIC a better program. Technology modernization, easier shopping experiences, and updated food package options were among some of the recommended changes families would like to see. Thriving PA is working closely with the WIC Bureau in the Pennsylvania Department of Health to see some of these modifications become a reality.  

Thriving PA also recently submitted comments to the USDA in support of proposed changes to the WIC food package. The changes include more flexibility in package sizing, making the Cash Value Benefit permanent for fruits and vegetables, and ensuring the availability of culturally appropriate foods. The USDA is accepting public feedback on the proposed food package changes through February 21st. The National WIC Association has developed a comment platform and template that is easy to use for those interested in submitting. Thriving PA will continue to work toward increasing participation in the WIC program to ensure all eligible families can easily access its critical services and build a healthy, lifelong foundation for nutrition.   


Join Us to Celebrate CTE Month

February is Career and Technical Education month! CTE provides a combination of academic, technical, and hands-on skill-building that prepares students to either immediately enter the workforce or better define career plans to enter post-secondary education. 

Building a more robust CTE system in Pennsylvania means focusing earlier on career and workforce education and exploration, understanding the value of pre-apprenticeship programs and partnerships with the business community, and sustained investments in funding at the state level. 

To celebrate CTE month, we're joining WITF’s Scott LaMar and Aniya Faulcon as The Spark travels to Dauphin County Technical School on February 22 at 11 am. Scott and Aniya will discuss non-traditional career pathways with a panel of students, educators, our President and CEO, Kari King, and other professionals. Save your seat today and listen live.  


Data Did You Know?


In Case You Missed It...

  • The fight for majority control in the Pennsylvania House is over for now. Three special elections were held on February 7th to fill the House seats vacated by the late Tony DeLuca, Congresswoman Summer Lee, and Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis. Democrats swept all three Allegheny County races, with Joe McAndrew winning in the 32nd District, Abigail Salisbury in the 34th District, and Matt Gergely in the 35th District. The seats officially give Democrats a 102 to 101-seat majority in the House. The legislature is expected to return to Harrisburg next week and it is unclear at this time whether current Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi will retain his position or if Democratic Majority Leader Joanna McClinton will be voted into the role. The House Democrats have also yet to name committee chairs or membership, so stay tuned for updates in our next e-news. 
  • President Joe Biden gave his annual State of the Union address, addressing the nation and an often-hostile Joint Congress. Biden repeatedly leaned on the refrain "finish the job" touting the progress of his Administration's first two years but noting that much work is still needed to accomplish his administration’s policy priorities. The President stated his desire to restore the Child Care Tax Credit, create more affordable child care, and pass universal Pre-k. "Studies show that children who go to preschool are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree, no matter their background," he said.  
  • In a long-awaited decision, last week Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court decided that the state's school funding system is unconstitutional. However, an appeal is likely to be filed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, prolonging this already decade-long battle. After the appeals process is finished, the legislature would be compelled to address funding making the future of identifying any solution extremely uncertain. Republican legislative leaders have pointed to the need for school choice via vouchers and charters in their response. 
  • A recent ReadyNation: Council for a Strong America report highlights the economic impact of the infant-toddler child care crisis, estimating $122 billion in annual lost earnings, productivity, and revenue - more than double the estimate from 2018. The report notes an economic loss of $4.4 billion for Pennsylvania, the 5th most significant impact nationally.  
  • Next month the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotment payment will be end. These payments began in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic and provided an extra monthly SNAP payment.  
  • The Department of Justice is reviewing the validity of Allegheny County's family screening tool that assigns risk factors to families referred to the child welfare system to determine whether or not to investigate child abuse or neglect.  
  • The once-shut-down congregate care program, Glen Mills, has now been issued a provisional license by DHS. Long-standing abuse allegations led to the revocation of its license, which now creates confusion about its reopening.  
  • The Biden-Harris Administration announced a $500 million investment in water upgrades and lead service removal as part of a 10-year effort to replace lead pipes across the country. In addition, the Administration is working to remove lead paint from homes, so children are not exposed to lead paint poisoning. The Lead-Free Promise Project applauds this investment and is working to ensure Pennsylvania address lead poisoning in children, with the state ranking 2nd for the number of children testing positive.  


Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
200 North Third Street 13th Floor
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
(717) 236-5680

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