State to End Health Benefits for Certain Immigrants

Beginning in October 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) will begin terminating state-funded Medicaid coverage for individuals who are found ineligible for the program. This is true despite the ongoing federal Public Health Emergency (PHE), which prevents Medicaid terminations for the majority of Medicaid recipients.

There are roughly 2,400 state-funded Medicaid recipients at risk of termination because of this new development. DHS will send renewal packets to all 2,400 of these individuals, so they will have a chance to show that they are still eligible before DHS takes action to terminate. It is vital that state-funded Medicaid recipients complete their renewals on time and in full.

State-funded MA recipients are immigrants, and many have limited English proficiency. Many are also seniors and/or disabled. As a reminder, DHS now has many forms translated into six languages:  Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Arabic.  The PA600 (application for benefits), the PA600HC (application for healthcare only), and the PA 1663 (Employability Assessment Form) are all translated and can be found in the DHS Medical Assistance Eligibility Handbook.

DHS will begin sending renewal information via mail to determine continued eligibility for state-funded Medicaid enrollees. The renewal process gives people an opportunity to show their eligibility and try to keep their Medicaid coverage active. It is important to report any changes in your address to your County Assistance Office caseworker to ensure receipt of your renewal packet and any future notices. State-funded Medicaid recipients are encouraged to complete and return their renewals as soon as possible to avoid termination for failure to recertify eligibility.

The state’s decision to terminate state-funded coverage does not affect the majority of Medicaid enrollees, since most people are getting federally-funded Medicaid. Individuals on federally-funded Medicaid are still protected under the Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) and its continuous coverage protections. As PHLP previously reported, the PHE has been extended until mid-October 2021. This means that those enrolled in federally-funded Medicaid can and may receive renewals in the mail during this time. However, nearly all federally-funded Medicaid recipients may NOT be terminated during the PHE, even if they are no longer eligible.

If you need help completing your renewal packet to recertify your eligibility for Medicaid, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) may be able to help you. Call their Helpline at 1-877-570-3642.

If you have questions about your Medicaid eligibility or you believe your Medicaid has been improperly stopped, please call our Helpline at 1-800-274-3258 or e-mail us at