The Great Unwinding in Arizona and D-SNP Clients
The Great Unwinding in Arizona and D-SNP Clients

The Status of the Great Unwinding in Arizona and How It May Impact Your D-SNP Clients

When the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) ended, so did the enhanced federal funding that allowed millions of Americans to remain on their states’ Medicaid rolls, even though they no longer qualified. This process, known as continuous enrollment, was intended to minimize disruption and allow individuals to keep their health insurance during a worldwide health crisis.

On April 1, 2023, states began the process of disenrolling Medicaid recipients who were no longer eligible. This gradual transition back to pre-pandemic norms is known as the Great Unwinding. Since April 2023, states have disenrolled more than 16 million Medicaid beneficiaries. These changes may have already impacted some of your D-SNP clients.

How Arizona Implemented the Unwinding

Each state administers its own Medicaid program and, therefore, determined its own processes and timelines for the Unwinding. Many states have struggled with outdated computer systems, staffing shortages, and the incapability to reach some Medicaid recipients due to incorrect contact information and language barriers.

In Arizona, Medicaid enrollments had grown by more than 35% during the PHE, reaching more than 2.3 million in 2023. One in six of those recipients was also a Medicare beneficiary.

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which administers Medicaid for the state of Arizona, focused its efforts on automatically renewing eligibility for as many Medicaid recipients as possible. This helped reduce the number of Medicaid recipients who were applying for redeterminations. It began its outreach campaign in February 2023 by sending renewal notices warning that disenrollments would start in April 2023.

The AHCCCS Eligibility Dashboard report updates the results of those efforts each month. Some highlights include:

  • AHCCCS plans to complete redeterminations for eligibility by the end of March 2024.
  • As of February 5, 2024, 62% of total renewals are approved, 19% are not approved or discontinued, and 19% are still in process. Among the 19% of those that were discontinued, 5% (or 21,613) are individuals aged 65+.
  • When there was enough information available electronically to confirm eligibility, the auto-renewal process approved 82% of renewals.

Check In with Your D-SNP Clients

Since AHCCCS has set March 2024 as its completion date for redeterminations, you should be reaching out to your D-SNP clients now to confirm they are aware of what is happening and ensure they know the status of their Medicaid eligibility. By taking this initiative, you can prevent your clients from losing their healthcare coverage.

In the best-case scenario, your clients will have been part of the automatic renewal process and won’t need to do anything. If they have received notification from the AHCCCS that their eligibility has been discontinued but they believe their redetermination was based on incorrect information, they can use the information included on their notification to appeal the decision. If their redetermination is correct and they are losing their Medicaid eligibility, they will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a new Medicare plan.

If any of your clients have not heard from AHCCCS, they should reach out immediately to make sure their correct mailing address, phone number, and email address are on file. They should use one of these contact methods:

This is your opportunity to connect with your clients and educate them on what is happening. If necessary, you can also help them find new Medicare plans. Reassure your clients that you are here to support them through this transition.

Do you have questions? Western Asset Protection is here to help. Contact us today.