During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government declared a public health emergency, which gave the federal government flexibility to respond to the unique circumstances the country was facing. As part of this state of emergency, states were not allowed to end Medicaid coverage for most beneficiaries, which meant those enrolled in Medicaid largely kept their coverage without having to renew their eligibility.
Now that the COVID-19 public health emergency is ending, Arkansas has begun the process of re-determining eligibility for everyone who is enrolled in the state’s Medicaid programs. Over the next six months, the Arkansas Department of Human Services will reevaluate Medicaid members in the state to see if they still meet the requirements. Officials have identified more than 400,000 Arkansans whose coverage was extended because of the special rules during the Public Health Emergency. These beneficiaries’ eligibility will be redetermined during this process.
Medicaid beneficiaries should watch their mail for a renewal letter from DHS, and return any requested information. You can visit ar.gov/renew for more information, and you can update your information in the following ways:
- Online at access.arkansas.gov
- By phone at 1-844-872-2660
- In-person at your local Department of Human Services (DHS) office
If you and your family lose your Medicaid coverage in the coming months, you will be able to enroll in a new insurance plan outside of the typical open enrollment period. Visit healthynwa.org to find an organization that can support you in the enrollment process, or click here to get connected with a UAMS Community Health Worker.
Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families. It is a national program, but each state has their own version. The Arkansas Medicaid Program covers things like primary care, mental health, dental and vision care, and emergency services. In 2014, Arkansas expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act with the ARHOME program (formerly Arkansas Works). This program uses Medicaid dollars to buy private insurance for those enrolled. The state of Arkansas also has a program aimed at providing coverage for children as well, called ARKids First, which covers things like wellness visits, eye exams, dental checkups and immunizations.