May 8, 2023

PADHS and ACDHS Renewed Recommendations for End of Public Health Emergency

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration, which allows families and individuals to get COVID-19-related benefits and automatic coverages, will expire on May 11, 2023.

Many PHE benefits have already been terminated, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments, which expired at the end of February 2023, and continuous Medical Assistance eligibility and enrollment, which ended April 1, 2023.

To better support families through this continuing transition, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS) and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PADHS) issued the following recommendations:

(This article was updated on May 10, 2023 to include new information on renewing coverage via mail).

How should families and individuals in Allegheny County respond to the end of PHE?

Continuous Medical Assistance eligibility and enrollment ended April 1, 2023.

Everyone on Medical Assistance and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will need to renew their application.

In April, PADHS began sending renewal information to recipients. Attempts to contact recipients regarding renewals will span a 12-month period.

Recipients will get information in the mail about renewing their Medicaid or CHIP coverage. When this packet arrives, they must complete and return it by the date printed on the packet. They can return it by mail or deliver it in-person at any local County Assistance Office. Recipients can also complete the renewal by phone at 1-866-550-4355 or online at

PADHS may contact recipients through other means as well, including by phone. Regardless of how they are contacted, recipients will need to:

  1. keep their contact information up-to-date, and
  2. respond quickly to any correspondence that they receive, even if nothing has changed. Not responding will result in a loss of coverage.

This will affect everyone in Allegheny County who receives Medical Assistance and CHIP.

SNAP benefits ended in February 2023

During the PHE, all SNAP households received at least an additional $95/month. Without this additional support, more than 166,000 people receiving SNAP benefits in Allegheny County may need food assistance.

How can families and individuals prepare for this transition?

Families and individuals receiving Medical Assistance or CHIP:

Families and individuals receiving Medical Assistance or CHIP should update their contact information in COMPASS. The Department of Human Services will send important notices in the mail about renewals, so it is very important that contact information be up-to-date.

Log into to update your contact information, or call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930, if you prefer not to use the online portal.

Families and individuals receiving SNAP benefits:

SNAP benefits have decreased, so some families and individuals may be struggling to secure enough food.

Anyone who needs food assistance can call 2-1-1 or look at the food bank’s food locator tool.

Households with pregnant individual(s) or children under the age of 5:

If someone in your household is pregnant or under the age of 5, WIC can help connect you to food resources.

Learn more about WIC at and, if you are interested in WIC resources, fill out the pre-application on that page.

Additional Resources

Medicaid and CHIP

Community Care Behavioral Health is available to assist members and providers with eligibility questions and support. Members can call 1-844-488-5336. Providers can call 1-888-251-2224.


Just Harvest can help people apply for SNAP, as well as other benefits.

For more information about SNAP Emergency Allotments, the February change, and how to report changes to benefits, visit

Food Resources in Allegheny County

ELRC Region 5 has curated a list of food resources provided by organizations in Allegheny County.

To find the food list, visit


February 16, 2023

Weathering the Storm: Keeping Immigrants and their Families Covered During the Medicaid Unwinding

The 2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act created a continuous coverage requirement, ensuring that anybody enrolled in Medicaid would stay enrolled without going through the process of redeterminations. However, on April 1, 2023 the pandemic-era’s continuous coverage requirement will come to an end. States will have 12 months to initiate Medicaid redeterminations for more than 80 million people nationwide.

Although this “unwinding” puts all people enrolled in Medicaid at risk of coverage loss, immigrants and their family members face unique obstacles to remaining covered. These include language barriers, privacy concerns, and fear of immigration-based consequences. Advocates, enrollment professionals, and allies can help.

Join Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) for this webinar to hear from national experts and state advocates about how to keep immigrants and their families covered and learn how to partner with PIF in these efforts.

Session Details

Thursday, February 23 | 12 – 1 p.m.



Learn More

To learn more, visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website.


February 9, 2023

Shapiro Administration Urges CHIP Recipients To Update Contact Information

The Shapiro Administration and the Department of Human Services (DHS) is urging anyone enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, also known as Medical Assistance (MA), to update their contact information.

Under new federal law, continuous MA eligibility will end on April 1, 2023. By keeping contact information up-to-date, recipients of MA and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will receive timely, necessary updates about their coverage and benefits.

About Changes Medicaid Eligibility

Changes to MA eligibility come following passage of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. These changes force states to resume normal MA renewal determination processes after April 1, 2023. Prior to this passage, pandemic aid allowed individuals to remain enrolled in MA, even if they became ineligible.

No one will lose their health coverage without having an opportunity to complete a renewal. Renewals will be completed over 12 months, with March renewals being first affected by the end of continuous coverage.

If a person is found ineligible for their current coverage, their MA coverage will end. Additionally, if a person does not complete their renewal on time, their coverage will end.

Government employees will direct those who become ineligible for coverage to other sources of affordable medical coverage, like CHIP and Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health and dental insurance marketplace.

Preparing for Renewals

Individuals can find the timeline for their renewal on COMPASS or the myCOMPASS PA mobile app.

Anyone can set up a COMPASS account. If they have a mobile device, they can download the myCOMPASS PA mobile app for free.

Instructional videos on downloading and using the myCOMPASS PA app are available on DHS’s YouTube channel.

Those without computer or mobile access can call DHS’ Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or 215-560-7226. The Customer Service Center is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. These individuals also have the option to visit their local County Assistance Office.

Updating Contact Information

Pennsylvanians whose contact information or personal circumstances have changed can use COMPASS to make the following updates to their case file at any time:

  • Changes to the number of people living in your household
  • Changes to your email address
  • Changes to your phone number
  • Changes to your mailing address

COMPASS also allows users to sign up to receive e-notifications about their benefits. Additionally, DHS encourages Pennsylvanians to opt-in to text messages to receive information about their benefits.

Keeping information up to date will help Pennsylvanians receive reminders about their annual benefit renewal quickly so they can prevent an avoidable lapse in coverage or services.

Medicaid recipients can update their contact information on the COMPASS website.

Learn More

If you sign up to receive text messages and receive a text from the number 1-833-648-1964, it is not a scam. Messages sent by DHS via text will never ask you for personal information, and you should not provide it. These are intended to be reminders about your benefits and other important information about programs administered by DHS and the federal government.

DHS, along with other agencies across the Commonwealth, will continue to conduct outreach, informing MA recipients of these upcoming changes via mail, text, email, and phone calls.

For more information on the end of continuous coverage for MA and CHIP, visit the DHS website.


January 23, 2023

PPC Annual Health Care Report Released

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) has released its annual health care report, “State of Children’s Health.”

The 2022 report shows a slight improvement in the child uninsured rate, increasing from 4.4% to 4.6% during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This increase is a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s continuous coverage provision that prevents states from disenrolling children and families from Medicaid during the public health emergency.


PPC analyzed the most recent Census data to determine the role of Medicaid and other public health insurance programs in providing children and families with comprehensive health coverage and uninterrupted care during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Summary of Findings

State Findings

  • Pennsylvania has the eighth highest number of uninsured children in the nation. Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate remains lower than
    the national average of 5.4%. However, all neighboring states, other than Ohio, have better rates than Pennsylvania.
  • The rate of Pennsylvania children without health insurance decreased slightly between 2019 and 2021, from 4.6% to 4.4%. An important reason for these slight gains is the disenrollment freeze in Medicaid that has been in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The uninsured rates improved in 38 counties and worsened in 29 counties over the last two years. The counties with the most significant improvement in lowering uninsured rates were Carbon, Dauphin, Monroe, Westmoreland, and Wyoming. The counties with significantly worse rates than two years ago were Erie, Clinton, Fayette, Franklin, and Somerset.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid enrollment increased by 20%. More than 1.4 million Pennsylvania children currently have Medicaid for their health insurance.
  • Publicly funded or supported healthcare options account for providing health insurance to 47% of children in Pennsylvania, up from 46% last year. About two-thirds of children in Pennsylvania live in families that qualify for free or reduced public health insurance or financial assistance through Pennie™.

Disproportionality in Coverage

  • Not all children have experienced equal access to health insurance over the last two years. Hispanic or Latino children,
    children who identified as Some Other Race, and children who identified as Two or More Races have worse insurance rates now than in 2019. American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black, and White children have better rates. The uninsured rate for Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander children remained unchanged.
  • In Pennsylvania, Hispanic or Latino children and children who identified as Some Other Race had a disproportionately higher uninsured rate in 2021 than their rate in the general population. American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black, and White children were not disproportionately uninsured compared to the general population.
  • Children living in families with lower incomes are more likely to go without health insurance and 6.5% of children living in Pennsylvania who are financially eligible for Medicaid are uninsured.

PPC Recommendations

  • Reaffirm commitment to using a 12-month unwinding period, as recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Immediately expand the 12-month continuous eligibility policy to children ages 4 through 21 in Medicaid when the public health emergency ends.

Learn More

To learn more, read the full report.