CRANSTON, RI - The McKee Administration's Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) today announced more than $85,000 in mini-grants to 21 community-based organizations to support Medicaid renewals.
"We know that about one third of all Rhode Islanders are currently enrolled in Medicaid coverage; that's more than 350,000 people," said Governor Dan McKee. "Our goal is to ensure that all Medicaid enrollees are informed about the upcoming renewal process and are able to complete their renewal effectively. I want to thank our community partners for their willingness to provide direct support to enrollees throughout this process."
Renewals help the State make sure that everyone who is on Medicaid is still eligible. The federal government paused renewals during the Public Health Emergency but has asked states to begin the process again.
"For those who enrolled in Medicaid since March 2020, this will be their first experience with the renewal process. Others may have past experience but may need some support after not having done it for several years," said EOHHS Acting Secretary Ana Novais. "We hope that community partners will use these funds to augment our efforts at EOHHS and help us have a direct line of support for Medicaid members who may need help navigating the renewal process."
Not everyone will be re-enrolled at once. Rhode Island restarted the renewal process on April 1, 2023 and the process will be ongoing until March 30, 2024 with a new group of members coming up for renewal each month.
"Members will get a letter from the State between now and March 30, 2024 informing them when it's their turn to renew their coverage," EOHHS Medicaid Director Kristin Sousa said. "Right now, we're urging Medicaid members to make sure their contact information is up to date so we can make sure they get time sensitive information delivered directly to them."
Medicaid members who are determined to no longer be eligible will be connected to low-cost insurance options through HealthSource RI.
"In Rhode Island, we're proud that 97 percent of all our residents have health insurance," said HealthSource RI Director Lindsay Lang. "Our uninsured rate reached an historic low of 2.9 percent in 2022, far below the national average of 8 percent. Our goal through this renewal process is to make sure we maintain that exceptional rate of coverage, and these valuable partners will help us spread the message to Rhode Islanders that HealthSource RI is here to help them find a plan that meets their needs and budget if Medicaid is no longer available to them."
"We have been preparing extensively for Medicaid recertification," said Kimberly Merolla-Brito, Department of Human Services Acting Director. "Given the size, scope, and urgency of this effort, it will be a tremendous boost to be able to collaborate with community partners to collectively broaden our reach and overall success."
Mini-grant awardees will use these funds to enhance their outreach, technology, training, and language and cultural competency development related to Medicaid renewals. Many awardees said they plan to use their funds to purchase iPads so they can help Medicaid members complete the renewal process or upload requested documents. Other awardees said they will use the funds to print informational materials in multiple languages or for staff to complete training to become Certified Application Counselors.
Mini-grant awardees include:
AIDS Care Ocean State Amos House Center for Southeast Asians Central Falls Housing Authority Community Care Alliance Family Services of Rhode Island Higher Ground International Jonnycake Center for Hope MAP Behavioral Health Melior New Bridges for Haitian Success Newport Mental Health Oasis International Progreso Latino Raising Hope Refugee Development Center RI Elder Info Tides Family Services Tri-County Community Action West End Community Center Women's Refugee Care
Applications for mini-grants will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis between now and May 19 at 4 p.m. To learn more and apply, visit staycovered.ri.gov.