The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023: What Does This Mean for Medicaid and SNAP?
Updated: Mar 13
After years of continuous Medicaid enrollment, your member receives a letter from their state Medicaid agency asking them to complete the Medicaid renewal application. As a Medicaid enrollee with a chronic health condition, they are unsure and confused about next steps to take in the renewal process; however, they do know that their coverage has been instrumental in allowing them to receive much needed medical care over the past few years. Will they be able to navigate the renewal process? What if they lose Medicaid coverage? What will happen to their health if they can’t afford the doctor’s appointments and medicines necessary to care for their chronic illness?
These concerns will be a reality for thousands of Medicaid enrollees as state Medicaid agencies resume the renewal process this spring. In December 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 delinked the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement from the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). It also set the certain date of April 1, 2023, as the date on which states could resume Medicaid termination. With the end of the continuous coverage requirement fast approaching, what does this mean for Medicaid and SNAP benefit recipients?
In March 2020, the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act required state Medicaid agencies to maintain coverage for enrollees. Since then, people insured by Medicaid have benefitted from continuous enrollment and no gaps in health insurance coverage. In exchange for this continuous coverage provision, the federal government has increased the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid by 6.2%.
The continuous coverage provision will expire on April 1, 2023, and states will have to redetermine eligibility for everyone receiving Medicaid. As a result, many people will be at risk of losing Medicaid coverage—including those who remain eligible—due to administrative and bureaucratic challenges. However, large coverage losses are preventable. BeneLynk “leads with help” to reach more of your members, helping them to maintain their Medicaid benefits and enroll in programs that can save them money and improve their lives.
In addition, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act allowed states to provide emergency SNAP benefits to all households enrolled in SNAP up to the maximum monthly benefit amount. Later, the Biden Administration allowed households with the lowest incomes—those already receiving the maximum benefit—to receive an additional $95 a month. At the end of 2022, President Joseph Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, terminating SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs) after the issuance of February 2023 benefits. After February, SNAP households in states providing emergency allotments will on average experience a cut in their benefits of about $80 per person per month, approximately a 33% decrease in monthly benefits. However, some of this decrease will be offset by the October 2022 12.5% increase in benefits to offset inflation.
BeneLynk works to help all our potentially eligible members overcome food insecurity by enrolling in SNAP as well as finding access to local food pantries and community meal programs. The continuous coverage requirement and SNAP emergency allotments have played an important role in helping people maintain their health insurance and increasing nutrition assistance during this time of great need. BeneLynk is here to help your members access programs that improve their lives but also increase retention and improve quality metrics for your health plan. We don’t underestimate the importance of human-to-human intervention during this time of need, which is why we have a diverse team of live, friendly advocates who can keep our clients’ members informed and up to date on policy and program changes.