Identifying state policy actions to minimize early intervention service disruptions amid phase-out of pandemic-era Medicaid flexibilities

The pandemic disrupted usual referral pipelines for early intervention services and waitlists for these services have grown. Amid high unmet demand, several key pandemic-era changes to Medicaid—the continuous coverage requirement and increased federal match rates—began unwinding in April 2023 and will result in many children losing Medicaid coverage. Child Trends researchers explore three policy options that states can enact to minimize the impact of Medicaid disruptions. The first is to allow continuous Medicaid enrollment until age 6 for children who are eligible for the program at birth—an option four states (California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Washington) are already implementing. Second, states can extend renewal periods and use best practices when communicating with families about changes, such as reminders via text (as Maine has done) or phone call and outreach through on-the-ground organizations. Finally, states can work to improve administrative connections between Medicaid agencies, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offices, and early intervention programs.