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DHS Implements Continuous Medical Assistance Eligibility for Children Under Age 19

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) released a bulletin providing policy information about continuous Medical Assistance (MA) eligibility for children under age 19 which goes into effect on January 1, 2024. Under this policy, children under 19 who are determined eligible for MA will remain eligible until their annual renewal regardless of changes reported. There are a few exceptions, which are outlined in the bulletin linked below.

An example situation:

Carlota, age 9, is enrolled in MA with a household income of 250% (Federal Poverty Guidelines) FPG – which is within income guidelines for a 9-year-old child to qualify for MA. Carlota’s household reports an increase in their income and now their household income is 300% FPG. Carlota is no longer financially eligible for MA but will remain enrolled in MA until their next annual renewal unless an exception occurs. If the household income is still 300% FPG when their family completes the annual renewal, MA will close for Carlota at the end of the certification period.

More information is included in the DHS bulletin.

Research shows that children who are enrolled in health care coverage continuously for 12 months are more likely to have fewer unmet health care needs and better health outcomes. Additionally, changes in financial eligibility are often temporary, and many children who lose MA coverage due to an income increase become eligible again within a matter of months. This pattern of short-term enrollment and the churn of children losing and then regaining eligibility not only drives up administrative costs, but it also decreases the child’s access to timely and appropriate health care services. Continuous eligibility ensures that children who experience income volatility in their household will receive consistent access to health care coverage over the course of 12 months.” Minnesota Department of Human Services Bulletin #23-21-27, December 20, 2023