Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay: What is Medicaid and WV CHIP renewal?

Here’s what you need to know

By Tadd Haynes


Three years ago, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) in response to COVID-19 that provided critical support and health care for West Virginia residents and their families. During the PHE, nearly all existing and new Medicaid and West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees were able to enroll and stay covered regardless of changes in eligibility or status. That is about to change. 

Recent legislation passed by Congress separated Medicaid renewals from the PHE. What does this mean exactly? Every state, including West Virginia, resumed determining an individual’s Medicaid and WV CHIP eligibility beginning April 1. The Department of Health and Human Resources estimates that thousands of current Medicaid and WV CHIP enrollees will no longer be eligible as a result of Medicaid and WV CHIP renewal, also known as Medicaid and WV CHIP redetermination. 

As Medicaid and WV CHIP renewal resumes, now is the time to prepare. Here is a check list for all Medicaid and WV CHIP beneficiaries to get ready for this process: 

1. Make sure DHHR has your current contact information. DHHR can be reached by phone at 1-877-716-1212, by email at or online at 

2. Watch for and respond to mail from DHHR.  

3. Visit to see if you are likely to qualify for Medicaid and WV CHIP. 

4. If you don’t qualify, you can find affordable health plans through your employer or the health insurance Marketplace. 

For those who will lose Medicaid or WV CHIP coverage there is still good news. New subsidies make health plans on the Marketplace more affordable than ever. In addition, many helpful resources are available to guide people to the coverage and support they need. 

The pandemic brought years of uncertainty that has caused us to appreciate more than ever the importance of good health. Now our focus is on raising awareness about the available options so that people have health care coverage as we approach the end of the public health emergency. 

Tadd Haynes is president of UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia.