Extending Renewal for Your Program? Here Are 3 Lessons We Learned

Agencies across the country are racing to extend or renew critical program benefits for millions of beneficiaries. For the past few weeks, our teams at Alluma have been working day and night side-by-side with our client partners to respond quickly and ensure that vulnerable people don’t lose their access to healthcare coverage.

Our clients knew they needed to extend coverage for all the beneficiaries set to renew in March, April, and May. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order on March 18 ordered the immediate suspension of redetermination for 90 days and counties needed to respond in very short timeframe to ensure that everyone with fast approaching renewal dates were updated in the backend and notified.

Here are a few lessons we learned along the way:

  • Check your data system capabilities and limitations
    For one of our clients, we planned to change the eligibility end date for their over 25,000 people that fit the criteria to June 30, 2020. Seemed simple enough, right? But one of the associated systems, for claims and authorization, had a constraint built in that did not allow over 365 days of coverage without a renewal. Getting the associated system changed would take much more time than anticipated.

    Our solution? With client approval, we updated the records with a new start date, and marked the end date as NULL for now, a temporary fix to quickly prevent any churn. Of course, we also marked each record with a note flagging that they had been updated due to the COVID-19 Executive Order, which would go in the database as well as the front-end for assisters.
  • Get everyone on the same page
    Each program has a complex network of related systems and teams, including the audit group, the eligibility review folks, and vendors, such as the notification letter printers and third-party electronic health records systems. It’s important to clearly lay out the changes with at least one stakeholder from each partner and map out potential downstream impacts. By having a level-setting meeting with the right leads, others needs surfaced and information was speedily relayed to all involved.
  • Think about what, how, and with whom you want to communicate
    Our client knew that because renewal notices had already been sent automatically, the 2nd set of notification letters that showed a later date may be confusing. To ensure that as many folks got the update as possible, they also decided to send text message notifications to all affected beneficiaries who listed a mobile phone number and provided consent to receive texts. The Alluma team pulled and provided separate reports for preferred language selections, so texts could be sent in English or Spanish.

In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever for all us working to keep people connected to essential services to share lessons and information. Public servants and organizations are being called upon to rise to incredible challenges and we’re committed to supporting them.

Have lessons, questions, or tips to share? Let’s connect.