Pennsylvanians who receive Medicaid (and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (sometimes referred to as food stamps or cash benefits) can sign up to receive important alerts about these benefits from the Department of Human Services. If DHS currently has cell phone numbers for recipients, a mass message was recently sent by text. The message reads:
The PA Dept of Human Services would like to text you important messages about your benefits. Carrier rates may apply. To Opt in, please reply “YES”
The text message was sent from the number 1-877-375-0582. If an individual replies “YES” to opt in to receive further important messages and updates, those text messages will come from the number 1-833-648-1964. This number can be added to the safe contact list for those wanting to receive the texts.
DHS is encouraging those receiving any benefits through the County Assistance Office, with a cellphone, to opt in to receive these texts. Important information regarding renewal of Medicaid and other benefits will be sent by text so recipients know when the renewal packet has been mailed and when the renewal packet is due to be returned to the County Assistance Office.
It is especially important to receive these text messages when the public health emergency ends. The public health emergency (PHE) was declared by the federal government at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been extended every 90 days since then. The PHE allows individuals who may no longer qualify for Medicaid benefits to continue receiving them and forbids the state from terminating most recipients’ health benefits, even if they failed to return the renewal packet.
However, when the federal government declares the PHE is over, eligible Medicaid recipients who do not return the renewal packets and any additional information requested by the County Assistance Office, will have their Medicaid terminated. Opting in to receive text messages from DHS will be a very helpful reminder when the renewal packet has been mailed and when the renewal packet must be returned to continue receiving Medicaid benefits. DHS text messages will also notify recipients who receive cash benefits and/or SNAP benefits with the date and time of their required in-person interview with the CAO.
This chart explains the exact text messages that will be sent to those who opt in to receive them.
People who received the DHS text message and deleted it or did not respond because they were not sure if it was coming from a legitimate source can still sign up to receive them at Text Messaging (pa.gov).
DHS does not know when the federal government will end the public health emergency. It is very important that those receiving Medicaid (or any other benefits from the County Assistance Office), quickly notify DHS of any changes to their address and/or phone number. To update this information, call the Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930, or for those living in Philadelphia, call 215-683-4347. Individuals can also update changes to address or phone number online with their COMPASS account or by creating a COMPASS account at www.COMPASS.state.pa.us.