On May 17, United States of Care submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to a letter that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent to the FCC asking for clarification on the ability for State Medicaid agencies and health coverage programs to leverage text messaging to communicate with Medicaid enrollees. The request comes as states prepare for the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which will leave states to grapple with the redetermination of all Medicaid beneficiaries. Without the ability to leverage Managed Care Organizations, or third-party contractors and their workforces to assist with communicating with beneficiaries via text messaging, the redetermination process will be burdensome and could leave some beneficiaries at increased risk of losing coverage.
In our comments below, we highlight the importance of leveraging every available resource and state partnership to support continuity of coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries at the end of the PHE. We also discuss the opportunity text messaging has to create a more equitable and easier-to-navigate health care system. We appreciate the insights shared by HHS and CMS, and the FCC’s consideration of this important issue, which has the opportunity to make health insurance coverage easier to access and retain for some of the more vulnerable populations in state Medicaid and CHIP programs across the country.