WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Medicaid renewal is happening across the country and officials with the D.C. Medicaid program are reminding district residents to check their mail for that DC Medicaid renewal packet and act now to stay covered.

Melisa Byrd, Director of DC’s Medicaid Program said they saw about a 20% increase in people covered by DC Medicaid during the public health emergency from 2020 to now.

“So, it’s even more important for folks new to the program, meaning folks who came in during the pandemic and they’ve never renewed their coverage,” said Melisa Byrd, Medicaid Director DC Medicaid Program.

“Medicaid coverage is health insurance coverage,” said Byrd.

That’s why they are reminding almost half of the district residents they say have D.C. Medicaid coverage to complete the renewal process.

“It’s really important if folks want to be able to continue any kind of treatment they have, doctors’ appointments scheduled in the next few weeks or even if they’re doing their annual physical and they have it set for next year,” said Byrd.

There’s extra emphasis on the push for district residents 65 and older who have Medicare and DC Medicaid.

“Folks may know that as the Q and B program. So it’s just really important that folks who are over 65 and they have Medicare; if they’re not paying their premiums that means there’s a good chance Medicaid is paying their premium, so they need to pay attention to that Medicaid renewal form,” said Byrd.

“For some folks, Medicaid pays that for them and so even though Medicare is active, they have to respond to that Medicaid renewal as well, so we can keep paying those Medicare premiums and they can keep their Medicare coverage in place,” she added.

Byrd said most D.C. residents with Medicaid won’t have to do anything to renew their coverage

“We have a process where we can check in different bases to confirm all that we need to confirm to keep someone’s Medicaid active,” She said. “For those folks; it’s about 2/3 of our beneficiaries, Those folks will just get something from us in the mail, an important piece of mail that says your Medicaid coverage is good to go and you have coverage for the next year,” she added.

Byrd said they resumed the annual requirement to check for Medicaid eligibility back in April. She also said as of September, some people have already completed their renewal, and some may have received notices of renewal or will be getting them between now and June 2024.

“It’s really important when you get that piece of mail, that envelope with the green marking from us, that you open it, that you respond to it so that you have that Medicaid coverage when you do go to the doctor when you do go to the pharmacy,” Byrd said.

Even though the renewal paperwork comes in the mail, Byrd said that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to complete the process.

“Just because it comes to your mail doesn’t mean you have to fill it out and return it by mail. you can return it by mail, or you can go in person to what we call an ESA service center. there’s one in each ward across the district. But what we really encourage folks to do now is we have an online option to renew your Medicaid coverage. you can go to districtdirect.dc.gov,” said Byrd.

“If you don’t already have an account, you can create an account. You can connect to your Medicaid coverage,” she added.

Officials said people can renew their DC Medicaid as well on the district direct mobile app once the app is downloaded.