To the Editor:
Building stronger, healthier communities requires deliberate and conscientious action every day to improve individuals’ lives. Every time a person goes to a doctor for a checkup or gets important immunizations or screenings, health outcomes improve — and communities grow stronger for it. Ensuring people have access to quality, affordable health coverage is one of the most important ways to help us all accomplish this goal.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment in Medicaid surged 30% to more than 90 million people across the U.S., according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In New York State alone, Medicaid and Child Health Plus enrollment increased 23.4% to about 9 million people.
Those 90 million people will need to act soon to keep their health coverage. In December 2022, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which ends the “continuous enrollment condition” for the Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Essential Plan and Managed Long Term Care programs. This means most New York State residents who have coverage through these plans will need to update their eligibility information as part of the renewal process over the next 12 months, depending on their coverage end dates. This is a major change from the past three years, when coverage was extended automatically with no action needed.
At Fidelis Care, we serve more than 2 million members across the state who will be affected by this change. We believe every individual deserves access to quality, affordable health coverage that protects their physical and mental health and financial stability. Studies show that people who are uninsured are less likely to seek preventive care services, which could lead to undiagnosed illnesses and poor health outcomes. It’s also likely the people who lose coverage would disproportionately affect those most vulnerable and communities of color. That is why we want to ensure our members and other impacted New Yorkers are aware of this process and the proactive steps they must take to keep their coverage without interruption.
I encourage anyone with Medicaid, Essential Plan, Child Health Plus or Managed Long Term Care coverage to take the following steps:
- Update your contact information with the agency that you enrolled with (such as NY State of Health, your local Department of Social Services, or New York City’s Human Resources Administration) to ensure you receive the latest updates.
- Look for notices from the agency that you enrolled with and follow any next steps promptly. For example, you may be asked to respond with updated financial and family information by a specific deadline.
- Contact your health insurance plan. At Fidelis Care, our Member Retention team is available to help members if they have any questions or need assistance with the renewal process. The Fidelis Care team can be reached at 1-866-435-9521, by visiting one of our Community Offices or StreetSide RVs, or by going to fideliscare.org/renew.
As a physician, my job is to protect my patients and support their overall health and well-being. I encourage Medicaid, Essential Plan, Child Health Plus and Managed Long Term Care beneficiaries to take steps to ensure they keep their current health coverage, or have the tools and resources necessary to identify other appropriate coverage that best suits their needs.
After all, their physical and mental health depend on it.
Dr. Vincent Marchello
Chief Medical Officer
New York City
Fidelis Care is a health plan with more than 2.6 million members in New York state. Marchello also serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at SUNY Downstate School of Medicine. He has been a practicing physician for more than 30 years.