OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) says the Federal Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).

The extension allows certain Oklahomans on Medicaid to maintain their health coverage over the next 90 days.

OHCA estimates approximately 200,000 currently-enrolled SoonerCare members could be affected once HHS announces the termination of the PHE.

That announcement is expected to come sometime this year.

“The staff at OHCA continue to diligently prepare for the end of the PHE as well as communicate the best we can with those possibly ineligible SoonerCare members and their providers as well community leaders as we gain more information from our federal partners,” said Traylor Rains, State Medicaid Director.

Once HHS announces the PHE is ending, OHCA will alert affected members.

Each member’s official end date could vary based on the phased-out approach OHCA will use to remove ineligible members from SoonerCare.

“OHCA will use a compassionate risk-based approach, focusing on member utilization and critical health needs,” said Kevin Corbett, Secretary of Health and Mental Health and CEO of OHCA. “We will do everything we can to provide affected members with resources to help them once they are no longer eligible for SoonerCare.”

Members who are ineligible will receive three notices from OHCA across multiple communications channels.

  • An initial notification letter from OHCA will be mailed once the end date of the PHE is announced. This notification letter will detail the specific end date of benefits for each member.
  • A second notice will be sent to members 45 days prior to their scheduled end date to inform them of the reason for loss of eligibility, potentially missing documents to verify eligibility and appeal rights.
  • A third notice will then go out 10 days before the member loses eligibility.

To verify eligibility, OHCA is asking members to update their information and documentation, so the agency can contact members through U.S. mail, emails, and phone calls.