Health Care

Pandemic-era Medicaid benefit extension likely, officials say

By Guy Page

Pandemic-era, federally-funded Medicaid benefits to Vermonters appear likely to remain in place even after the next January 11 extension deadline, state and federal sources say. 

When the Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) was declared early in the pandemic, some benefits and protections were expanded – including requiring continuous coverage for Vermonters who have Medicaid.

“Under this provision, Medicaid agencies are required to keep people on Medicaid, with a few exceptions, during the public health emergency,” Rebecca Kelley, communications director for the Scott administration, told VDC yesterday. “The timing on ending the federal emergency is a federal decision and while we expect the PHE to be extended beyond the current January 2023 timeframe, that has not been confirmed by the federal government at this point.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must renew the federal public health emergency (PHE) related to COVID-19 every 90 days to maintain certain health care flexibilities and waivers. The PHE has been in place since January 27, 2020, and renewed throughout the pandemic. The latest HHS extension for the PHE is effective through January 11, 2023.

Furthermore, federal guidelines require a 60-day notification window for ending the PHE, and that hasn’t happened. Also, 2022 legislation provides a 151-day extension for at least some Medicaid funding after the PHE is formally ended. 

The likelihood of continuation of the Medicaid services is in accord with recent decisions – at least in Vermont – to continue or add to pandemic-era services for food stamps, temporary housing, and heating assistance. 

Categories: Health Care

2 replies »

  1. And people wonder why working class people can’t afford to live. Keeping handing out free stuff. That’s not the government’s money, it’s the taxpayers money. Vt has done absolutely nothing for the home owner tax payer. All they do is keep taking money.

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