Current State of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Last updated 08/01/2022

A Little About the Upcoming Covid Unwind Plan

The Covid-19 Unwind Plan is the process of returning to normal operations after the federal COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is ended. The PHE required Iowa Medicaid to implement flexibilities to assist with hardships felt by Iowans during the pandemic. Some of those flexibilities include waiving monthly premiums and expanding access to certain services. The Iowa Medicaid program was also required to continue Medicaid coverage for those already eligible, regardless of whether their income changed.

Once the United States Department of Health and Human Services ends the federal PHE, states must put plans in place to implement normal eligibility processes and roll-back flexibilities. Although we do not know the exact date that the PHE will end, it may end as soon as this fall.

What this means for you

Once the PHE ends, there is a requirement set in place by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that states will need to redetermine eligibility for all Medicaid members. The redeterminations of eligibility will be completed over a 12-month unwinding period. If individuals no longer meet eligibility criteria for Iowa Medicaid, our team will ensure that individuals understand other health coverage options that are available.

The COVID-19 Unwind Plan will also incorporate a communications plan that is made up of four phases to help current Medicaid members, providers and stakeholders navigate the transition back to normal Medicaid operations. The four phases of the communication plan are as follows:

  • Phase I: Updating Member Contact Information with Iowa Medicaid
  • Phase II: Getting Ready for Medicaid Changes as the PHE ends
  • Phase III: Time for Members to Complete their Renewals
  • Phase IV: Rerouting and Resources for those Discontinued from Medicaid

We will be sharing more information about the PHE Unwind Plan as more guidance becomes available.