During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Care Authority extended health insurance coverage to all Apple Health (Medicaid) clients through a public health emergency (PHE). This extension ends on March 31, 2023. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the PHE would end on May 11, 2023. With that change, roughly 300,000 clients may no longer qualify for Apple Health but may be eligible for other insurance coverage. In King County, 100,000 clients will be up for plan renewal over the next year.
All clients will have the opportunity to renew their coverage prior to any closure or transition of coverage. Clients will receive a renewal notice before the end of their renewal period over the next 12 months.
To help with this transition, HealthierHere is sharing steps community members can take now to maintain coverage, as well as providing information that our community partners can use to assist the people they serve.
Next Steps for Apple Health Participants
It is strongly encouraged that participants check that their contact information is correct and update it if needed. They then should watch for renewal notices and quickly take action to keep their coverage once they have been notified.
Not every Apple Health client whose eligibility was extended during the PHE will lose health coverage. Many individuals will be eligible for new forms of coverage including Medicare, Employer Sponsored Insurance, or Qualified Health Plans.
Need support with health insurance enrollment navigation? Contact a Navigator organization in your area for assistance.
For Partner Organizations
The HCA is looking for individuals and relevant organizations to help as they reach out to Apple Health clients - through the Apple Health Ambassador Program. The Apple Health Ambassador Program is a volunteer effort designed to share cohesive and culturally competent messaging and raise awareness on the actions clients must take to maintain coverage at the end of the PHE. HealthierHere strongly encourages anyone interested to join the program by contacting AHEligcovid19@hca.wa.gov.
The anticipated timeline for the end of this coverage and the public health emergency is as follows:
- Now - April 2023: clients can report a change (status, income, address, etc.)
- April 2023 - April 2024: processing determinations (as applicable)
- June 2023 - May 2024: some individuals and families will transition to other medical coverage.
Visit hca.wa.gov/phe for more information.
Additional resources for community partners:
- Changes to Apple Health continued coverage
- End of PHE talking points
- Apple Health ambassador program
- Apple Health client eligibility dashboard
This blog post was created in collaboration with other Accountable Communities of Health in Washington State.