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 dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS. PADHS may contact recipients through other means as well, including by phone. Regardless of how they are contacted, recipients will need to: keep their contact information up-to-date, and 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 dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS 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 PAWIC.com 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. SNAP 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 dhs.pa.gov/SNAPCares. 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 https://elrc5.alleghenycounty.us/news/2023-food-resources.