65 and Enrolled in Healthy Michigan? It’s Time to Move into Medicare.

During the Covid pandemic, the federal government ordered states to keep people enrolled in Medicaid, the state-run health insurance program for low-income residents.

That meant that recipients did not have to reapply for benefits each year.

Now that ‘continuous enrollment’ in Medicaid and Healthy Michigan (the Medicaid program for people 19 to 64 years old) is ending this month many seniors may need to reapply for Medicaid benefits, or perhaps even apply for Medicare.

Look for Letters Coming from the State

If you need to reapply for Medicaid benefits, the State of Michigan will send you a letter. The process is called “redetermination.”

Everyone in the regular Medicaid program and in Healthy Michigan will get notice from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that they no longer qualify or need to reapply. Make sure you open the notice,

Make Sure Your Address is Correct

If you have an online account with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, you can check to make sure your address and contact information are correct. If they aren’t, you risk a delay in getting benefits.

“If MDHHS sends out letters to the wrong address, the beneficiaries will still have the same redeterminations, will miss them, and will get kicked off Medicaid,” says Shari Smith, manager of the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program at the Area Agency on Aging 1-B. “This goes for everyone, not just older adults.”

Go to the State of Michigan’s MI Bridges website to make sure your information is up to date.

If You Missed Applying for Medicare, It’s Time to Take Action

If you’re one of the12,000-plus older Michiganders in the Healthy Michigan plan who turned 65 during the pandemic and didn’t sign up for Medicare, don’t panic. However, it’s time to take action.

If not, you could face a gap in health care coverage and face a lifelong financial penalty.

Medicare Special Enrollment

The federal government is providing a special enrollment period for those who turned 65 during the pandemic and need to sign up for Medicare. The period begins from the day seniors are notified of the loss of Healthy Michigan coverage and ends six months after their coverage ends. So, there is a six-month period to fill out this form and send it to a local Social Security office to apply for Medicare.

“We are grateful that CMS is allowing this special enrollment period, which begins when you are notified of the loss of Medicaid coverage and ends six months after Medicaid ends. Otherwise, thousands of people would be without health care coverage,” says Smith.

Dual Eligibility

Some seniors are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare (“dual eligibles”). They receive their primary health coverage through Medicare and receive additional assistance through Medicaid.

We Can Help

To get help applying for Medicare or to get your questions answered about Medicaid disenrollment, call our Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program at 800-803-7174.

To download the application form for Medicare, go to Medicare.gov.

To learn where to send your form, call Social Security at 800-772-1213.