IMPORTANT: All Medical Assistance (MA) Recipients Must Submit a Renewal to Keep Benefits - See "MA Renewals" Below ↓

Medical Assistance (MA) Renewals

MA Renewals and the Ending COVID EmergencyMA Renewals Part 2

Yearly Renewals for Medical Assistance (MA) are resuming – don’t risk having a gap in coverage for your health care and essential programs!

Are you, or is a person for whom you are an authorized representative, receiving Medical Assistance and/or “on a waiver” (enrolled in a waiver program) and need(s) to continue doing so?

Important changes are coming that you need to know: For all continuing recipients of MA (Minnesota’s name for Medicaid) and MinnesotaCare, eligibility Renewals are resuming.

In the coming weeks and months, all enrollees (or their authorized representatives) will be asked to submit new Renewal forms, along with proof of income and assets, to their county or their tribal agency in order to keep their health care coverage for the following year.

If a new Renewal form is not returned for every MA or MinnesotaCare enrollee, then their health insurance coverage will end.

Right now, Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is asking everyone enrolled in Medical Assistance or enrolled in MinnesotaCare to update your current contact information.

NOTE: If you have moved from one MN county to another, report your new address to your previous county office (PDF) or tribal agency right away so that your old county has time to transfer your case to your new county.

Ensure that your Minnesota county (or tribal agency) is able to contact you about Renewals: If you have moved in the past four (4) years, update your county (PDF) with your new address and contact information. NOTE: If you have moved from one Minnesota county to another, report your new address to your previous county office right away so that your old county has time to transfer your case to your new county.

If you have given away money or sold real property, or if your spouse has passed away in the last four (4) years, Contact Northwoods Law Group to schedule an appointment.

Back to Top

What to Expect During the “Unwinding Period” As Renewals Resume

(For more information, see DHS’s FAQ for MA and MinnesotaCare Renewals)

Minnesota is calling the timeline, for getting all enrollees back to submitting their yearly Renewals, the “unwinding period.” The Unwinding Period is from April 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024 - during this year-long timeframe, you must return a benefits form when your “renewal month” occurs.

Each person’s Renewal Month is based on when they applied for benefits and began their enrollment, which is the month when their benefits normally renew for the next twelve (12) months.To find your Renewal Month, use DHS’s online Renewal lookup tool, Find My Renewal Month. If you are unable to determine your Renewal Month using the online tool, not to worry - before your deadline occurs, DHS will be sending mail about your coming Renewal to the most recent address that they have on-file for you.

NOTE: Benefits renew twice a year or every six (6) months for both people with multiple incomes and for people on MA-EPD (Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities). People whose benefits renew every six (6) months must submit a Renewal form twice a year.

Enrollees with a July Renewal Month will be the first wave of people required to submit their yearly Renewals during the Unwinding Period. This means that if your MA Renewal Month is in January, February, March, April, or May, then you will not need to act until the second half of the Unwinding Period (during your Renewal Month in 2024). (NOTE: The MinnesotaCare Renewals timeline does not begin until October, 2023.)

IMPORTANT: Renewals are due to your county on the 8th of the month before your Renewal Month (because time is needed for DHS to check your eligibility). For example, Renewals from people whose Renewal Month is July, 2023 must be returned to the county by June 8th, 2023 in order to be considered on-time. (See the Additional FAQs section below, for what to do if you miss your Renewal deadline.)

In the months leading up to your Renewal Month, you will receive two (2) important pieces of mail from DHS:

  1. First, a“Pre-Renewal Notice” will arrive roughly three (3) months ebefore your Renewal Month – you DO NOT (yet) need to act when you receive this.
    • You will first receive a pre-Renewal notice in the mail alerting you that Renewals are resuming. The pre-Renewal notice is simply a communication to tell you that in the coming six (6) to eight (8) weeks, or roughly two (2) months before your upcoming Renewal Month, you should be watching your mail for your Renewal Notice.
  2. Second, a “Renewal Notice will arrive roughly two (2) months before your Renewal Month – you DO need to act when you receive this.
    • Once you receive a Renewal Notice, which contains a cover letter and your blank Renewal packet you must complete the form and return it to the county agency listed on the cover letter. Receiving the Renewal Notice means you have sixty (60) days to complete and return your Renewal form along with your proof of income and assets.
    • NOTE: Rather than a Renewal Notice containing your blank Renewal packet, you may instead receive an Auto-Renewal Notice (sometimes called a “Health Care Notice”). If you receive an Auto-Renewal Notice instead of a Renewal Notice it means that DHS was able to automatically renew your health care coverage. in this case, you simply need to check that all of the information in the Auto-Renewal Notice is correct.

You may also receive text messages from DHS to alert you that your Renewal information is in the mail and/or to send you follow-up reminders about your submission due-date.

After gathering your paperwork and checking that you have signed your Renewal form, return your completed form and copies of your income and assets paperwork to the agency listed on the cover letter from your Renewal packet. You do not need to take action until you receive a Renewal Notice with your blank Renewal packet and instructions

If you are not sure how to proceed, don’t wait for your benefits coverage to stop – let us help you so that you can continue receiving essential healthcare services.

Contact Northwoods Law Group today for help navigating your post-COVID Medical Assistance eligibility and for help understanding the paperwork you are receiving from the county. NOTE: If we helped you with your original MA application and you have received paperwork from the county requesting documentation from you, in order to assist you, we will need to see copies of what the county has sent to you.

IMPORTANT: If you get a Denial Notice or a Notice of Action stating that your eligibility is ending or will end, it needs your immediate attention. These kinds of notices are time-sensitive, so do not just set them in your pile of mail. After receiving a Denial Notice, you have thirty (30) days to act before you lose your right to appeal (reverse) the denial, and you only have ten (10) days to act if you want to continue receiving your MA benefits during the appeal process.

If you receive an eligibility denial notice for MA, Contact Us as soon as possible for assistance in determining why you were denied and what you can do.

Expect Renewals to continue – after the Unwinding Period ends on the last day of May in 2024, all enrollees will need to submit a Renewal at the same time every year (or twice a year, for MA-EPD and for multiple incomes) in order to continue their coverage into the next year.

IMPORTANT: Beware of Renewals scams.

Scammers have been calling and emailing MA recipients to phish for their personal information or to demand money.

If you have information to provide to DHS or to any government agency, then you can always contact the agency, yourself, to ensure that you are speaking to someone from an official organization.

DHS or your county will never call you to ask for personal information or demand payment over the phone.

If you receive a phone call from anyone claiming to work for the government and they ask for money or personal information so that you can keep your health insurance, hang up immediately.

DHS or your county will also never email you to ask you for protected health information (PHI) or payment details.

If you receive an email from someone claiming to work for the government and they ask you for money or personal information, do not reply to the email. If there are links included in the email, do not click on any links. If there are files attached to the email, do not open any attachments.

A good rule of thumb is to never open attachments, nor to click on any links, in any emails you receive unless you know the sender personally and/or unless you were expecting the email.

Back to Top

Types of MA Renewals

Medical Assistance (MA) is one of Minnesota’s two (2) main public healthcare options or “Minnesota Health Care Programs” (MHCPs). The second MHCP option is MinnesotaCare. MinnesotaCare is a local program that is only available in Minnesota, while “Medical Assistance/MA” is Minnesota’s name for the nationwide healthcare program that is better-known as “Medicaid.” Every US state has a Medicaid health care program available.

NOTE: Although MinnesotaCare is mentioned elsewhere on this page (since Renewals are required of both MA and MinnesotaCare recipients during the Unwinding Period), none of MinnesotaCare’s plan or program information is included here because Northwoods Law Group (NWLG) typically works on Renewals with people receiving MA/Medicaid, not with people on MinnesotaCare.

There are four (4) general categories of people enrolled in MA/Medicaid. NWLG typically works on Renewals with people in the first two categories.

Four (4) Categories of Medical Assistance
  1. MA-ABD: Medical Assistance for People Aged 65+, Who Are Blind, or Who Have a Disability
    • NWLG typically works on Renewals with people in this group
    • Renewal Form DHS-3418 (PDF) – “This form is used to renew Medical Assistance (MA) or Medicare Savings Program eligibility annually. It is used to renew eligibility for these programs: MA for people who are blind, have a disability, or are 65 years old or older; MA, if a person is 21 years old or older, lives with no children under age 19, and has Medicare coverage; MA with a spenddown; or Medicare Savings Programs.”
      • NOTE: Questions 10-23 are optional at this time
  2. MA-LTC: Medical Assistance for People Receiving Long Term Care Services
    • NWLG typically works on Renewals with people in this group
    • Renewal Form DHS-2128 (PDF) – “Use this form to renew long-term care (LTC) services in a facility or for services to help you stay in your home or a community setting.”
      • NOTE: Questions 3-13 are optional at this time
  3. MA-FCA: Medical Assistance for Families with Children and Adults
    • Renewal Form DHS-8262 (PDF) – “This is the renewal form needed to reapply for any of the Minnesota Health Care Programs (except Minnesota Family Planning and Breast and Cervical Cancer).”
  4. MA for Certain Populations
    • People with Breast or Cervical Cancer (MA-BC)
    • People Receiving Services at the Center for Victims of Torture (MA-CVT)
    • Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)
    • People Living in Institutions for Mental Diseases (MA-IMD)
    • Hospitalized Incarcerated People (MA-HIP)
    • Children Receiving Northstar Adoption Assistance (NAA), Northstar Kinship Assistance (NKA), and Children in Foster Care (FC)
    • Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA)

Back to Top

Information to Provide to Your County or Tribal Agency

(For more, see DHS’s FAQ for MA and MinnesotaCare Renewals)

As soon as possible, contact your county or tribal agency if you have had a change of address or contact information.

  1. Ensure that your Minnesota county (or tribal agency) is able to contact you about Renewals:
    • If you have moved in the past four (4) years, update your county (PDF) with your new address and contact information.
    • If you have moved from one county in Minnesota to another, report your new address to your previous county office (or tribal agency) right away so that your old county can transfer your case to your new county.

With your Renewal form, you will be asked to include proof of income and assets.

  1. Include proof of the enrollee’s current income, such as:
    • Pay stubs for people who have wages
    • Most recent federal income tax return or business records for people who are self-employed
    • Documentation or copies of checks if the enrollee has other kinds of income
  2. Include proof of the enrollee’s current assets, including:
    • Current bank/financial statements (from within the past 30 days), or current letters from financial companies stating the current value of the account
    • Letters from life insurance companies stating the current cash surrender value of any life insurance policy
    • If accounts have been closed in the past four (4) years, you will need to provide copies of closing statements and proof of where the money in the old account was deposited, or proof of how that money was spent

After checking that you have signed the form, return your completed Renewal form and copies of your paperwork to the agency that is listed on the cover letter on your Renewal packet.

NOTE: Remember to include copies of documents, not original documents, when returning the required paperwork along with your Renewal form.

Back to Top

When to Contact Northwoods Law Group

State and tribal agencies can answer many questions about the eligibility of an enrollee, the Renewals timeline, or about completing Renewal forms. But sometimes you will face complicated eligibility questions; or you will receive a benefits Denial Notice stating that you are not eligible to continue your coverage; or you will get a Notice of Action from the county requesting further documentation from you.

If you are not sure how to proceed, don’t wait for your benefits coverage to stop – let us help you so that you can continue receiving essential healthcare services. Contact Us today to schedule an appointment.

Potential issues that the Northwoods Law Group can help you address:

  • If you have had a “change in circumstances” (CIC) during the pandemic that could affect your eligibility to continue on Medical Assistance, such as:
    • Getting married
    • Your spouse passing away
    • Stopping working (which impacts people on MA-EPD)
    • Moving from living in a Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) setting to living in a nursing home
    • Changes in assets, like:
      • Receiving lump sums of money or property
      • Giving away any money or assets (regardless of whether it had to be reported to the IRS on your taxes)
  • If you have never filled out a DHS Renewal form before, we can help you complete your Renewal form, ensure that all of your income and assets paperwork is in order, and answer your questions about the Renewals process
    • If this is the first time you will ever be submitting a Renewal, in order for us to best assist you, it would be helpful for you to bring the following to your appointment:
      • Current gross monthly income for 2023
      • Current bank statement showing balance
      • Current verification of any private health insurance premiums
      • If married, current income for spouse
      • For people getting an income allocation:
        • What spouse’s shelter costs are (property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, heating/cooling, mortgage)
      • Any notices received from the county in the last year
  • If you have worked with the Northwoods Law Group in the past four (4) years to complete an application form for Medical Assistance, we can assist you
  • If you receive a Notice of Action or a Denial Notice from your county stating that you are not eligible for continuing coverage, we can help you determine what is being asked of you, why you were denied, and what you can do

For a list of general Elder Law topics that are not specific to MA Renewals, see Top Ten Things to Discuss with an Elder Law Attorney (PDF)

Back to Top

Client Reviews
"Thank you for your continued help. You all seem to be the only place I can go for answers." K.C.
"I think the world of Laura Z-as a lawyer with incredible expertise and knowledge and as a wonderful human being. I couldn't rate her any higher!" N.B.K.
"Working with Laura has made all the difference for our family! She's helped us navigate some complex situations with expertise and care. We couldn't have gotten through all of this without her help. We will continue to work with her as family needs arise in the future." B.M.
"We are so grateful to Laura for her responsiveness, thoroughness and extensive knowledge of the law. She has helped us immensely in our family estate planning. We especially appreciate how she listened to our particular needs and found creative solutions to our situation." D.B.
"Laura Zdychnec has been wonderful to work with. Her vast experience and reliable advice were indispensable in setting up my trust account and navigating the legal shoals involved. Laura came highly recommended by my close friend Frances Long, a founder of the former firm." S.R.