Back To Articles

Maintaining Health Coverage When the Public Health Emergency Ends

February 4, 2022

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has declared a public health emergency. This allows anyone enrolled in Medicaid to continue to be on the program even if they would not normally qualify.

The Public Health Emergency is likely to end on July 15, 2022, but this could change. This means most people in Pennsylvania who are enrolled in Medicaid (sometimes known as “access” or Medical Assistance) cannot be cut off from their benefits before August 1, 2022.

What to Expect When the Public Health Emergency Ends

Once the Public Health Emergency ends, you may need to update your income and other information with your County Assistance Office (sometimes known as the welfare office). You may be asked to fill out a paper renewal, or you can submit your information online through COMPASS.

If you no longer qualify for Medicaid at the end of the Public Health Emergency because your income is too high, you may be eligible for a no cost or low cost health insurance plan through the Health Insurance marketplace known as Pennie or you may qualify for MAWD (Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities).

Enrolling in a Pennie Plan

When your Medicaid benefits end, you will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period through Pennie, and can apply for a plan immediately. Pennie offers health coverage that you pay for, with financial assistance from the government to help lower your monthly costs and copays. 9 out of 10 people qualify for financial assistance through Pennie.

Even if you have considered marketplace insurance in the past, you should still review the Pennie plans, as costs may have changed, and more financial assistance is available!

If your yearly income is below the following amount then you may qualify for a free Pennie plan with low out-of-pocket costs:

  • Family of one: $19,320/year
  • Family of two: $26,130/year
  • Family of three: $32,941/year
  • Family of four: $39,752/year
  • Family of five: $46,560/year
  • Family of six: $53,370/year

Enrolling in MAWD

If you have a chronic condition and you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, you may also qualify for Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). MAWD is a state-based health insurance program for people with chronic health conditions and are currently working. If you think you might be eligible for MAWD, you should ask your case worker at the County Assistance Office to review you for the program. PHAN can also help see if you qualify for MAWD.

Next Steps

If you receive your regular renewal packet in the mail, you should fill it out now so the County Office has your most up-to-date information. Otherwise, wait until the County Assistance Office communicates with you about the end of the Public Health Emergency.

If you are cut off from your Medicaid when the Public Health Emergency ends and you need assistance finding other coverage, call PHAN’s helpline at 877-570-3642.