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AARP Pennsylvania Provides Updates for Pennsylvanians Getting Ready for Medicaid and SNAP Changes

Leaders of Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Aging Join AARP TeleTown Hall

In March 2020, the federal government put special coronavirus rules in place that helped hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians maintain stable health insurance and avoid food insecurity during the pandemic.  However, the federal government recently ended some of these special rules and is now rolling-back two specific pandemic-era federal policies.  

One federal rollback impacts people enrolled in Medicaid, which is the federal-state health insurance program for persons with low incomes.  For the past three years, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has provided states with extra federal funding to maintain Medicaid recipients in the program. Known as a “continuous enrollment” policy, the special rule allowed recipients to remain enrolled in Medicaid without being required to go through a renewal process, which verifies an individual’s eligibility for the program.  The rollback of this special rule means that beginning in April 2023, Medicaid recipients will need to resume submitting a Medicaid re-enrollment packet annually.   

The second federal policy rollback pertains to the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.  During the pandemic, everyone who qualified for SNAP received an “extra payment” – called an Emergency Allotment – every month.  The minimum SNAP extra payment gave Pennsylvania households at least an extra $95 a month. The last extra payments were issued to SNAP recipients at the end of February 2023.  

The Shapiro administration has been preparing for the end of these special rules, and to help get the word out AARP Pennsylvania hosted a TeleTown Hall to let Pennsylvanians know about these policy changes, including how their benefits might be impacted, what they need to do, and where to go for help.  The informational session was moderated by AARP Pennsylvania Volunteer President Emeritus Joanne Grossi, who was joined by two special guests Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services’ Acting Secretary Valarie A. Arkoosh and Department of Aging Acting Secretary Jason Kavulich. 

During the nearly hour-long session, approximately 4,000 Pennsylvanians listened-in and several participants asked their question live.  Acting Secretaries Arkoosh and Kavulich provided important guidance, resources, and reminders so that those impacted by the end of the Medicaid “continuous coverage” requirement will be on the lookout for their renewal packet to arrive in the mail; and those affected by the end of the SNAP “extra payment” know how to check on their benefit and where to find help accessing nutritious foods in their local community.  

AARP Pennsylvania shares the Shapiro administration’s commitment to make certain that regardless of zip code, every Pennsylvanian - from the youngest child to the oldest adult – has access to nutritious food and can maintain their health care coverage wherever it comes from.   

If you or a loved one is a Medicaid recipient, here is what you need to know and do about keeping your Medicaid coverage: 

  • Starting on April 1, 2023, the federal government ended the Medicaid “continuous coverage” period. 
  • When it is time for you to renew your coverage, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) will send you a renewal packet in the mail.  
  • Because renewal packets will start to be mailed in April 2023, now is a good time to make certain that your contact information is up to date. 
  • To help you prepare, check and update your contact information by: 
    • Calling DHS’s Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930.  
    • If you live in Philadelphia, call 1-215-560-7226. 
    • Visiting the DHS online portal, called COMPASS.
  • It is essential that renewal forms are completed and returned, even if everything has stayed the same. 
  • Completing a renewal packet will help DHS determine your eligibility for Medicaid coverage.  Coverage will continue for recipients who are still eligible.
  • If you are a grandparent raising a grandchild and have questions about their CHIP  coverage, call: 1-800-986-5437.
  • If you are a Medicare beneficiary or a dual-eligible (receive both Medicare and Medicaid) and are not certain if this change applies to you, call PA MEDI at 1-800-783-7067 for assistance. 
  • If you have lost your health insurance, Pennie – Pennsylvania’s official health coverage marketplace – can help.  Call 1-844-844-8040 or visit:

More information is available from DHS at:

If you or a loved one participates in SNAP, here is what you need to know about your SNAP Benefits: 

  • Starting in March 2023, the federal government ended the SNAP “extra payment” or emergency allotment.
  • This means that SNAP recipients went back to receiving one payment a month. 
  • To make certain that as a SNAP recipient, you are receiving the maximum benefits for your household size and individual circumstances, you can call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 (or 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia residents), or contact your local county assistance office
  • Recognizing the impact this SNAP change may have on households, if you or a loved one needs food assistance, here is where you can go for help: 
    • Call 211 or visit: to connect with various local food resources. 
    • Visit to find local food banks and other food assistance programs. 
    • Visit and
    • For information on the upcoming Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program or accessing meals at your local area agency on aging the Pennsylvania Department of Aging can help get you connected by calling: 1-717-783-1550 or click here to find your local area agency on aging.   
    • For information on the Senior Food Box Program, the Pennsylvania PACE Program can help get you connected by calling: 1-800-424-4356. 
    • More information is available from the Department of Aging at:

A recording of the Teletown Hall is available on AARP Pennsylvania's Facebook Page and Vekeo.

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