The Lead April 6, 2023
From the Desk of Angela Schnepf, President and CEO
You may have received a provider notice from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) on AABD income and asset limits. It is important to note that the asset limit remains suspended until the end of the PHE – May 11, 2023. This means no asset test limits are applied through May 11, 2023. The new $17,500 asset test will be used for new Medicaid eligibility applications starting May 12, 2023. The new asset limit will be used for Medicaid REDEs taking place on and after May 12, 2023.
CMS Clarifies in Writing that the End of the National Emergency and the Public Health Emergency are Two Different Things. Some Flexibilities Continue Through May 11
On March 31, CMS published an explanation of the “Potential Impact of House Joint Resolution 7,” to answer questions related to the difference between this resolution to end the National Emergency differs from the upcoming May 11 end of the Public Health Emergency. LeadingAge members have asked whether existing waivers under the PHE will end early or end May 11 as planned. As the CMS document explains, “Even if the COVID-19 National Emergency were to end, any existing waivers currently in effect and authorized under the 1135 waiver authorization for the pandemic would remain in place until the end of the federal PHE for COVID-19.” Simply put, the waivers will end but the date to end them does not change.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) would like to inform all Long Term Care (LTC) providers that starting May 2023, they must ask Illinois Medicaid customers to renew their healthcare coverage. Medicaid customers have had continuous coverage since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Congress has ended the pause on annual eligibility verifications, known as redeterminations, or simply, renewals.
The Medicaid renewal process
LTC customers will receive one of two renewal forms:
- Medical Benefits Redetermination Notice- Form A – If HFS has enough information about a customer to automatically renew them, this renewal form will tell them what information they used to determine their eligibility. Form A does not need to be completed and returned unless the information on the form is incorrect.
- Medical Benefits: Time to Renew Notice– Form B – If HFS will need more information, the form will ask for more information. Medicaid customers will then have to complete and submit their renewal according to the instructions on the form.
The best way to complete a renewal is to click Manage My Case at abe.illinois.gov. If the customer’s Manage My Case login details are lost or forgotten, click “Create a new ABE User Id and Password” and link it to the original Medicaid case through identity proofing. For more information on managing online accounts, visit the ABE Customer Support Center.
When are renewals due?
It is important to know that everybody’s due date is different. Medicaid customers will get their renewal forms one month before they are due. All renewals are due by the first day of the following month.
For example, if a customer’s renewal is due June 1, they will get their renewal form the first week of May and must return it by June 1. Customers whose renewals are due in July will get a letter the first week of June and must return them by July 1. And so on.
How to submit renewal forms as a provider
Providers may return renewal forms through the ABE Partner Portal or the Central Scanning Unit:
- ABE Partner Portal – Instructions for Creating Accounts and Uploading Documents
- Department of Human Services Utilization of the Central Scanning Unit for Long Term Care Providers
- Only return renewal forms that require a response.
- Only complete and return the actual renewal form that is sent to the customer, not a previous renewal form.
- Medical Benefits Redetermination Notice (Form A) should only be returned if the information is incorrect and the updated information has been added.
- Customers can renew online when it is time for renewal by clicking Manage My Case at abe.illinois.gov. The renewal button appears on the first business day of the month before the form is due. Therefore, a customer’s renewal that is due June 1 would see the renewal button in Manage My Case on May 1.
- For customers that have a Manage My Case account, LTC providers that are approved representatives should update the address on the customer’s case to ensure the customers renewal notices are mailed to the right address.
- LTC providers can check customers’ renewal due dates in the Medical Electronic Data Interchange (MEDI) system. Here are instructions to LTC Providers for locating the redetermination date of Medicaid eligible residents in the MEDI system.
If you have questions regarding this notice, contact the HFS Bureau of Long Term Care at 844.528.8444.
Each week, we will keep you abreast of important deadlines.
- May 11: Scheduled end of the state and federal public health emergency.
Life Plan Communities/CCRCs:
CCRC Occupancy Report Card: News from NIC
The National Investment Center has published provocative findings for not-for-profit CCRCs, following a review of occupancy performance from Q4 of 2022. Generally speaking, the report offers ‘good news’ for LeadingAge members. Specifically, NIC found that CCRCs outperformed non-CCRCs in terms of occupancy, and not-for-profit CCRCs fared better than for-profit CCRCs. Interestingly, entrance-fee CCRCs also demonstrated stronger occupancy rates over rental CCRCs.
Two underlying takeaways are key to recognize amidst these findings; one, that those communities that experienced the biggest declines in occupancy also showed the fastest recovery in occupancy, because two, those same communities also suppressed rates growth and/or lowered their rates in order to recover occupancy more quickly. The report also breaks down the occupancy growth by region; not-for-profit occupancy was strongest in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and for-profit occupancy in the Pacific and Mid-Atlantic regions.
The Southeast region experienced the greatest losses and the slowest recovery in occupancy, overall. Monthly fees remained highest in not-for-profit, entrance fee CCRCs, and while inventory in the for-profit CCRCs decreased, not-for-profit inventory remained stable or increased – also an indicator of the model’s occupancy resiliency.
Expansion of the Supportive Living Program Dementia Care Settings
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) has released a provider notice on the Expansion of the Supportive Living Program Dementia Care Settings. Applications will be accepted in 25 counties statewide.
Nursing and Rehabilitation:
Medicaid Rate List Effective April 1
Chapters on Section 202, Service Coordinators in Housing Guide’
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published its 2023 Advocates’ Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy. The free online resource has chapters on a large range of federal housing programs and tools, such as the Consolidated Planning Process and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Each chapter is authored by subject-area experts, including the chapter on the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program authored by LeadingAge for the last several years. Read the 2023 Advocates’ Guide here.
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS):
FY2024 Hospice Proposed Rule Published with 2.8% Increase
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget concluded its review of the hospice rule on March 30, 2023. The 2024 proposed hospice rule was published in the Federal Register March 31. An inspection copy is available here.
- The rule proposes an FY 2024 rate update of 2.8 percent
- This rule solicits comments regarding:
- the provision of higher levels of hospice care;
- spending patterns for non-hospice services provided during the election of the hospice benefit;
- ownership transparency;
- equipping patients and caregivers with information to inform hospice selection; and
- ways to examine health equity under the hospice benefit.
- This rule also proposes:
- Codifying hospice data submission thresholds
- Updates to hospice survey and enforcement procedures
- Proposes to require hospice certifying physicians to be Medicare-enrolled or to have validly opted-out.
LeadingAge Illinois Advocacy Center
The 2023 Illinois General Assembly Spring Session is now in full swing. The LeadingAge Illinois public policy team will be pushing for our Board-approved 2023 public policy priorities, while also advocating for member interests by supporting legislation that brings about solutions to provider challenges, while opposing and working to stop bills that place undue burden on member settings. We will send out more information on the LeadingAge Illinois legislation as they are officially introduced. You can also view all of the bills we are tracking on the LeadingAge Illinois Legislative Tracker which is live updated on active in the LeadingAge Illinois Advocacy Center. If you have any questions, contact Jason Speaks, director of government relations.