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Medicaid updates to have potential impact on Permian Basin residents

Midland Community Healthcare Services looks to remind people to re-apply to keep their benefits.

MIDLAND, Texas — Medicaid is soon to end their autonomous renewal cycle by March 31, and Midland Community Healthcare Services is looking to remind patients to re-apply to keep their benefits.

Medicaid has long served as a safety net for people who can't afford health care or are uninsured. 

Medicaid saw a spike in applicants during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, the federal government got rid of the annual renewal cycle to help people out.

However, as MCHS CEO Michael Austin explained, some people on Medicaid may be caught off guard by the update.

“Normally under Medicaid, you have to renew your status or your application once a year," Austin said. "Starting in 2020, concurrent with the pandemic, this renewal cycle was waived. So a lot of folks who may have signed up in 2020, they really haven't had to do anything as far as renewing or re-establishing their benefits for almost three years.”

While the federal government has been sending out information about the change, forms to re-apply have also been sent out to Medicaid patients.

“We’re asking our patients to be aware of the information that Medicaid should have sent them over the last several months, regarding renewals or application," Austin said. "It’s very important that if they still need Medicaid, that they go ahead and return those forms as promptly as they can.”

While the autonomous renewal cycle will soon be ending, the federal government has extended the period to enroll through the Affordable Health Care Act through July. However, Continuous coverage of Medicaid will be ending on March 31,2023. 

Austin said that there is still time to re-apply or update your status to keep your Medicaid benefits.

“It’s almost getting to be too late to do it by mail," Austin said. "However, you can go on to the Texas Medicaid website, get into your account and make those updates to keep your coverage going if you still need it.”

Eligibility factors to apply for Medicaid include location, marital status and income made.

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