COVID-19 Public Health Emergency FAQs

#FFFFFF

Public Health Emergency Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the public health emergency affect members?

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a public health emergency (PHE). During the PHE, state agencies are required to provide health care coverage for all medical assistance programs, even if a member’s eligibility changed. This is known as the continuous coverage requirement.

Congress has recently passed a bill that ends the continuous coverage requirement in spring 2023. This will allow states to begin normal renewal processes. Colorado will take 12 months (14 months including noticing) to renew members based on their annual renewal date.

What happens when Continuous Coverage ends?

Health First Colorado and CHP+ will return to normal eligibility renewal processes with renewals due in May and noticing beginning in March 2023. The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) will take 12 months (14 months including noticing) to complete renewals for each of the approximately 1.7 million people currently enrolled. Not all members will be renewed at the same time. Each member’s renewal month will align with their already established annual renewal month. Some members will be automatically renewed based on the most recent information already on file with the state. Other members will need to go through the renewal process and take action. The Department will send renewal packets to those members in advance of their renewal dates with key information and their individual timelines to take action.
 
What can members do now to prepare for the end of the continuous coverage requirement?

  • Update their contact info and communication preferences in PEAK
  • Watch for and respond timely to official notices from the state
  • Check the member renewal resources page at Health First Colorado: hfcgo.com/renewals

What is the renewal process?

The renewal process (sometimes called redetermination or RRR) for Health First Colorado and CHP+ members occurs annually. Some members will be automatically renewed based on information we have for them from other data sources.

If we are not able to verify a member’s eligibility based on most recent information already on file (reported information from members and/or information from other data sources) they will have to go through the renewal process to see if they still qualify for coverage. These members will receive a renewal packet several weeks in advance of their renewal month. The packet will ask them if anything about their situation has changed, a signature to acknowledge review of the information, and may request verification to determine whether they still qualify to receive Medical Assistance. This is a new ask! During the PHE, members have received renewals but haven’t needed to return them to keep their coverage. This packet can be completed electronically through CO.gov/PEAK, the Health First Colorado App or by mail.

For more information about renewals visit hfcgo.com/renewals.

How will members know when their renewal is due?

The Department will send a renewal packet either in the mail or to their email directing them to their PEAK inbox several weeks before their renewal due date. Members who use the Health First Colorado app will receive a push notification letting them know when it's time to take action.

Members can find out their renewal date on CO.gov/PEAK at any time.

What if a member loses their coverage?

We want all Coloradans to get covered and stay covered. If a member is no longer eligible for Health First Colorado or CHP+, they will receive:

  • Notice of when their enrollment ends
  • Information on how to appeal
  • Information about options for purchasing other health care coverage.

What are the other health care coverage options?

Coloradans who are not eligible for Health First Colorado or CHP+ can purchase health insurance through the state's official health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.

  • Within 60 days of losing their health coverage

or

  • Anytime during the open enrollment period

Coloradans who do not qualify for Health First Colorado or CHP+ may be able to get financial help to lower the cost of private health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado. The amount of financial help is based on the cost of the premiums where the applicant lives, how many people are in their household and their estimated yearly income.

Learn more at ConnectForHealthCO.com or 855-752-6749:

  • Get expert help signing up for health coverage by working with a certified assister or broker, online or in person.
  • Browse plans and costs with an easy, anonymous online tool.
  • Find out how much financial help you may qualify for.
  • Get enrolled!

How will HCPF work with its partners?

  • We will work closely with our county and eligibility partners to redetermine members' eligibility leveraging the member’s annual renewal date and our modernized, member-centric processes and only disenroll those who are no longer eligible.
  • We will properly notice all members whose eligibility changes about their benefits or enrollment status, including appeal information
  • We will work closely with our partners at Connect for Health Colorado to ensure those eligible for marketplace health plans are made aware of their coverage options as well as the availability of financial subsidies that make coverage more affordable.

How can I get more information?

The Department will continue to provide messaging to members through the Health First Colorado newsletter, PEAK, the Health First Colorado mobile app, emails, text messages and social media.

We will also provide policy and operational information to our partners through stakeholder meetings, at Colorado.gov/HCPF/COVID and through our COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Updates.

PHE Status: Extended

The Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, issued a Statement of Administration Policy on Jan. 30, 2023, that the Administration plans to extend the PHE to May 11, 2023 and then end the PHE on that date. This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to the end of the PHE. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra previously formally extended the PHE on Jan 11, 2023.

SNAP benefits are decreasing for Coloradans starting in March. Get more information.

Stay Up-to-date on the COVID-19 PHE

Public Health Emergency Monthly Updates

Subscribe now

Community Partner Webinars

Upcoming Webinars

Previous Webinars

COVID-19 PHE Unwind Planning: Community Partners and Advocates - Jan. 25, 2023

Planning for the end of the PHE: Community Partners and Advocates - Nov.17, 2022

Planning for the end of the PHE: Continuous Coverage Requirements - April 15, 2022