Letter: End of pandemic emergency may change insurance


The federal Public Health Emergency, or PHE, declared in response to COVID-19 is set to expire in the coming week. Some protections under the PHE have already been set to expire and, for many, it may mean the end of health insurance coverage. If you or a loved one has received health insurance through Medicaid (Apple Health in Washington) in the last three years, it is important that you update your contact information with the state and some may need to find an alternative means of insurance.

Medicaid is insurance for those meeting economic eligibility requirements with funding provided by the federal government but managed at the state level. Each state has its own rules about how Medicaid will be offered or discontinued. During the pandemic, the Public Health Service Act stated that no one who had or acquired Medicaid coverage during the pandemic could have coverage discontinued. For example, some people may have qualified for Apple Health/Medicaid because they had a pregnancy.

In Washington, Medicaid coverage continues for 12 months following a pregnancy. In other states, a person may only get a couple of months of coverage following pregnancy. If that person had a baby in 2020 under Medicaid, that insurance coverage had been continued beyond that 12 month period and until the PHE extension expires (now). That person may no longer qualify for Medicaid and may lose their insurance in the coming year.

The state plans to contact each client one month prior to their renewal date. If your Medicaid coverage is set to expire in May, they’ll contact you in April. This will occur over the next 12 months. The state will be contacting people covered by Medicaid via U.S. mail. If you have moved or changed your address in the last three years, it is important to update your address with the Washington Health Care Authority — or the Health Care Authority for whatever state you currently live in. Clients will have the opportunity to renew their coverage prior to any closure or coverage transition but it is important to update your contact information. Once you have confirmed that your contact information is up to date, watch for your renewal notice and respond in a timely manner to maintain your insurance.

You have several options to report a change for Apple Health coverage:

Online: Go to Washington Healthplanfinder – log in and select “Report a change in income or household” under quick links.

Phone: Call the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

Email: askmagi@hca.wa.gov

Mail: Submit verification of the change to: HCA-MEDS, PO Box 45531, Olympia WA 98504

For more information, watch the YouTube video youtu.be/3sjlDanxwLM.

Meg McSorley,


Oak Harbor