Oct. 6, 2023

Public Health Emergency Planning header

Covid-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwind 

Colorado has resumed regular eligibility reviews for people with Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) after a 2+ year pause during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). 

PHE Unwind Reporting

HCPF released its fourth month of renewal information, for members whose coverage anniversary date was in August 2023. The unwinding data report for the August 2023 renewal period is live on the Continuous Coverage Unwind Data Reporting page

The information posted is point-in-time data about renewals as required by federal reporting requirements and does not include all the new members coming into the program or those who will take action during the 90-day reconsideration period. Members can resume coverage if they still qualify by returning their renewal packet and any missing information to their county for processing within 90 days of losing coverage. Based on pre-pandemic information, on average, about half of the members who had lost eligibility were deemed eligible for Medicaid again within two years.

PHE Unwind Partner Webinar

HCPF is hosting quarterly informational sessions about the end of the Continuous Coverage Requirement and the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. These webinars are geared toward community partners such as advocacy organizations, providers, and community organizations who may provide other assistance to Health First Colorado or CHP+ members (housing, social services, etc.). 

The next quarterly webinar will be held on Oct. 25, 2023, from 1 - 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Previous PHE Unwinding webinar recordings and presentations are posted in the PHE Resource Center.

Ex Parte Change & Reinstatements

As you know, HCPF received new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Aug. 30, 2023, that requires a change to the ex parte process for renewals. Instead of renewing members through ex parte at the household level, we will now be performing ex parte at the individual level and reinstating coverage for members who were eligible but disenrolled between May and August because their household did not properly complete and submit the required renewal packet. Members eligible to have their coverage renewed will be notified. HCPF will be issuing a special edition newsletter later this month regarding reinstatements.  

HCPF will begin doing ex parte at the individual level as of October 2023. This change will apply to September and October renewals and every renewal month thereafter. Renewal packets will still be sent to households, but individuals within a household who are identified as eligible during ex parte will be approved instead of disenrolled even if the household fails to return their renewal packet by the deadline.

Additional FAQs about the ex parte temporary extensions and reinstatements will be added to the PHE Unwind FAQs Renewals Category.

Ongoing Changes and Updates to the Renewal Process

We’ve been listening to you and implementing changes. Thanks to feedback we heard from members and advocates, we’ve made the following changes:

Renewal Packets

Renewal packets are shorter! We heard that renewal packets were too long, had too many blanks, and the envelopes made them look like junk mail. The following system updates have been implemented and will be reflected in renewal packets sent mid-October to members with a December 2023 renewal date.

  • Members will only see information for members of their household with Health First Colorado or CHP+ coverage, so there are no extra blank spaces and fewer pages. 
  • Fewer pages for members to fill out with their financial information.
  • If they need to add more information, there’s a blank page at the end of the packet. 
  • Additional emphasis to sign the renewal packet.
  • A color Colorado State seal has been added to the renewal packet envelope window to help prevent it from being mistaken for junk mail.

Ongoing 60-day renewal extension for vulnerable populations

HCPF is leveraging additional flexibility from CMS to provide a 60-calendar-day extension to complete the renewal process for our vulnerable populations, including long-term care (LTC), members on waivered services, and buy-in recipients who have not returned their renewal packet on time during COVID unwind.

  • This extension also allows HCPF to do additional outreach to these vulnerable members when they are up for renewal, while providing extra time for the members to return the information and the counties to process it.
  • The extension is in effect September 5 through the remainder of the unwind period, June 2024. It does not affect members who have already submitted their renewal packet to the county or those who have completed the renewal process.
  • If a member has already turned in their renewal packet and still needs to submit additional information, the county may grant additional time through a Good Faith Extension for a member to turn in this information. 
  • FAQs about this LTC 60-day extension can be found in the PHE Unwind FAQs Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) Category.

Please note that extensions are not the same as the 90-day reconsideration period. All members can take advantage of the reconsideration period by turning in a renewal within 90 days of their renewal date to see if they still qualify. Only members with long-term care (LTC), waivered services, and buy-in recipients have a 60-day extension to act on their renewal; if a member meets this criteria, they would have an additional 60 days to complete their renewal without it being late. After that time frame, they would have 90 days to submit a late renewal, but may have a gap in coverage. 

PEAK Highlights and Updates

We are collaborating closely with our PEAK team on improving the PEAK user experience. To keep you better informed of updates to PEAK, we are adding a new section our COVID-19 PHE Unwind newsletter.

In order to make the renewal process easier to navigate on PEAK, the following new features and tools are currently available or will soon be available:

  • As of mid-October, member names will be added to to-do cards. This will make it easier to understand who specifically on a case is assigned to each card, which will make it easier for PEAK users to see who has an upcoming renewal that is due.

How can you help support members during the PHE unwind?

HCPF has developed extensive partner toolkits regarding the end of the continuous coverage requirement. Update Your Address, Understanding the Renewal Process and Take Action on Your Renewal toolkits all include resources to help members take action to keep their coverage. A new joint webpage KeepCOCovered.com includes partner resources and information for those who may need to transition to other health coverage. Flyers have recently been developed for Colorado employers to distribute to their employees to help spread the word.  

You can help us raise member awareness about the renewal process by sharing the messaging in our toolkits.


The materials in the toolkits identify key actions for members to take: updating contact information, taking action when a renewal is due, and seeking help with renewals at community or county resources when they need it. Flyers, social media messaging and graphics, website content, and other outreach tools are in our PHE Resource Center

Partners can educate themselves and their staff on the basics of the renewal process to assist members who may need help. See our Renewal Education toolkit. Members with questions about the renewal process can learn more by visiting Health First Colorado’s renewal webpage available in English and Spanish

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the end of the continuous coverage requirement and return to regular renewal processes have recently been added and are in the PHE Planning Resource Center.  

Thank you for your partnership and continued collaboration!

Scammer Alert

Scammers are targeting Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members through text messages and phone calls. They are telling members they must pay to keep or renew their health coverage. HCPF never asks members or applicants for money, bank account or credit card information, complete social security numbers, or any other financial information through text or over the phone. HCPF will contact members to ask them to update their address and contact information. Members can do this at any time online through PEAK and are not required to give this information over the phone. Please help us alert members of potential scams by sharing this important message. And report any suspected scam activity to the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit.

Join our mailing list

Was this email forwarded to you by a friend, family member, or colleague?

If you like this newsletter and want it delivered to your email once a month, subscribe now!