COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) released three instructional videos designed to help Healthy Connections Medicaid members complete their annual eligibility reviews.
During the COVID-19 federal health emergency, states were required to pause annual reviews and keep Medicaid members enrolled with very limited exceptions. Starting on April 1, 2023, those yearly renewals were resumed.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, DHHS says there were about 1.3 million South Carolinians on Medicaid. Throughout the renewal process, they expect to return to pre-pandemic levels.
According to DHHS, Healthy Connections Medicaid members can complete their annual eligibility review, check their annual review status, update their contact information and submit required documents online at apply.scdhhs.gov.
The videos walk Medicaid members through the steps to create an online account and complete each of these functions. Those who want to apply for Medicaid coverage can also apply at apply.scdhhs.gov. The videos are available on SCDHHS’ website at the links below:
- How to sign up for a Citizen Portal (apply.scdhhs.gov) account
- How to complete an annual eligibility review online
- How to update contact information, check annual review status, submit documents or use other quick tools
When a Healthy Connections Medicaid member is up for review, SCDHHS first attempts to renew the individual’s Medicaid eligibility with information already available. If SCDHHS can verify continued eligibility this way, a Medicaid member will receive a “continuation of benefits” notice and will not receive an annual review form officials say.
“We’re really looking to reach our Medicaid members in as many ways as we can. Online, text message, through advertising, through folks in their community. We really want to make sure that people are aware of this process so that people who are eligible for Medicaid don’t lose their coverage,” SCDHHS Director of Strategic Communications Jeff Leieritz said.
If continued eligibility cannot be confirmed this way, the agency will notify the Healthy Connections Medicaid member and mail a form to be completed and returned. The Medicaid member can complete the form that is sent to them or complete their annual review online by following the steps in the video linked above.
SCDHHS officials said annual review forms must be filled out completely and returned by their due date.
Leieritz said Healthy Connections Medicaid members who do not return their annual review form by the due date have a 90-day grace period after their coverage has ended. For Medicaid members who return their annual review form within the 90-day grace period, SCDHHS will reopen their eligibility retroactively to the date it previously closed. Coverage will be reinstated until an eligibility determination can be made.
Members with questions should contact the Healthy Connections Member Contact Center at (888) 549-0820 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Community organizations, such as SC Thrive, are also able to answer questions.
According to SCDHHS’s online dashboard, more than 500,000 South Carolinians have had their renewal process initiated. So far, about 140,000 South Carolinians have been disenrolled through the federally required yearly eligibility review process restarted on April 1st. You can find more information in the table below.
|Total Medicaid members reviewed and disenrolled||38,480||Total number of Healthy Connections Medicaid members who have been reviewed and disenrolled from coverage since federally required reviews restarted April 1, 2023.|
|Total Medicaid members disenrolled for failure to return their review form||103,890||Total number of Healthy Connections Medicaid members who have been reviewed and disenrolled because they did not return their review form.|
|Total Medicaid members disenrolled for procedural reasons other than failure to return their review form||1,710||Total number of Healthy Connections Medicaid members who have been reviewed and disenrolled because they did not fill out their review form accurately or completely.|
|Total Medicaid members disenrolled through annual reviews||144,080||Total number of Healthy Connections Medicaid members who have been disenrolled through the restart of the federally required annual eligibility review process since April 1, 2023.|