Text messages to be sent to Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) & CHP+ members in El Paso county reminding them to update contact information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2022
Denver, CO - Beginning the week of Aug. 15, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department) and the El Paso County Department of Human Services will send text messages to more than 63,000 El Paso County residents enrolled in Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) reminding them to update their contact information. The Department has been preparing for the eventual end of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), and it is critical that the state and county be able to reach members with important messages about their health coverage as the end of the PHE gets closer. Only those Health First Colorado and CHP+ members who have opted in to receive text messages will receive them.
During the PHE, Coloradans enrolled in Health First Colorado and CHP+ have been able to keep their coverage in place even if their eligibility status changed. However, when the PHE ends, the Department and county eligibility partners will be re-evaluating each member’s eligibility during their regular annual renewal cycle. This will include members whose jobs, incomes or housing situation may have changed during the pandemic, and they may no longer be eligible for coverage after the PHE ends. The federal government determines when the PHE will end, which is currently scheduled to end in mid-October but could be extended again. The federal government will inform states at least 60 days before the PHE ends.
Some Health First Colorado and CHP+ members could lose their health coverage if they don’t respond to correspondence from the Department. Such correspondence will include asking members to verify their income, state residency status or other information needed to determine if they qualify for coverage.
It is critically important that the Department has updated and accurate contact information for members to ensure they receive critical communications necessary to maintain health coverage.
“Whether our members remain eligible for Health First Colorado or CHP+ coverage or they need to transition to their employer’s coverage or individual coverage under Connect for Health Colorado’s insurance marketplace, which provides subsidies that make premiums more affordable, we need to be able to communicate with them when the PHE ends,” said Kim Bimestefer, executive director for the Department. “Our goal is to keep Coloradans covered through this transition. Having updated member email addresses and cell phone numbers is particularly important for reaching and communicating with members through this transition.”
About the El Paso County Text Messaging Campaign
The Department and El Paso County will be sending two text messages over the next several days encouraging El Paso county residents enrolled with Health First Colorado or CHP+ to update their contact information. This is a pilot program in what will become a larger statewide effort.
“El Paso County DHS intentionally seeks ways to improve efficiencies and better serve those in need in our region. We are pleased to be part of this pilot project to add text messaging as a means to reach those enrolled in Health First Colorado and CHP+,” said Stacie Kwitek, El Paso County Department of Human Services executive director. “This tool will help make sure members do not have a disruption in health coverage, which in turn helps build stronger and healthier families and communities.”
To ensure members don’t think the text messages are spam or not legitimate, the Department and El Paso County appreciate media outlets including the text message language in their stories. The following messages will be sent in English and Spanish over the course of several days in August and will originate from 66596:
Message 1: This is Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and CHP+. Look for messages about your health coverage via text and your CO.gov/PEAK mailbox. Reply STOP to opt out.
Message 2: Take action! Update your contact info so you get info about your health coverage from Health First Colorado. Visit CO.gov/PEAK or learn more at hfcgo.com/2
Members who have not opted in to receive text messages may do so when updating their contact information at CO.gov/PEAK.
For the latest PHE information, visit the Department’s PHE Planning webpage: hcpf.colorado.gov/phe-planning.
About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. For more information about the Department, please visit hcpf.colorado.gov.