Medicaid and CHIP Services Information for Providers

An End of Continuous Medicaid Coverage Ambassador Toolkit is available to help members, providers, health plans, and advocates prepare for the end of continuous Medicaid coverage.

To streamline this page, some older information has been archived. See the Medicaid and CHIP Services COVID-19 Information (PDF) for this content.

Medicaid CHIP COVID-19 Information Sessions

These sessions are to share information with stakeholders about the implementation of various Medicaid/CHIP flexibilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan. 12, 2023

Medicaid and CHIP Flexibilities

Any changes to Medicaid and CHIP services will be posted here and sent out through standard communication channels.

Be sure to check health plan provider portals, the TMHP COVID-19 page, and read any emails you get from HHSC.

As noted in the sections below, multiple Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities have been extended through April 30, 2023.

More information will be provided if there are changes.

Testing for COVID-19

Healthcare providers should coordinate with local public health authorities to determine whether a patient needs to be tested for COVID-19.

Coverage

  • Medicaid and CHIP will cover COVID-19 testing for Medicaid and CHIP clients.
  • No prior authorization will be required on the COVID-19 lab test by Medicaid and CHIP health plans or by traditional Medicaid.

For information on the testing and treatment of the uninsured for COVID-19 see the resources section of this page.

Vaccinations for COVID-19

For information on initial vaccine administration procedure codes and updates through July 2022, see Medicaid and CHIP COVID-19 Information for Providers (PDF).

Additional Vaccine Doses

Effective for dates of service on or after July 13, 2022, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, COVID-19 vaccine administration codes 0041A and 0042A are benefits of Medicaid, Healthy Texas Women (HTW), the Family Planning Program (FPP), and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program for the administration of the first and second dose of the primary series of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 3, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after March 29, 2022, reimbursement rates for COVID-19 administration procedure code 0094A (Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (Blue Cap) 50MCG/0.5ML Administration – Booster) will be implemented for Texas Medicaid, Healthy Texas Women (HTW), Family Planning Program (FPP), and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 9, 2022.

On June 23, 2022, the Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) implemented the second quarter 2022 Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System additions, which include new COVID-19 procedure codes.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 17, 2022.

Beginning June 23, 2022, for dates of service on or after May 17, 2022, the reimbursement rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration procedure code 0074A will be implemented for Texas Medicaid and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 17, 2022.

Beginning Aug. 11, 2022, for dates of service on or after July 13, 2022, reimbursement rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration procedure codes 0041A and 0042A will be implemented for Texas Medicaid, the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program, Healthy Texas Women (HTW), and the Family Planning Program (FPP).

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 17, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after Aug. 19, 2022, the age range for COVID-19 vaccine administration codes 0041A and 0042A has changed from 18 years of age or older to 12 years of age or older.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Sept. 13, 2022.

Effective Aug. 31, 2022, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will cover the new bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine as a payable pharmacy benefit.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Sept. 16, 2022.

Effective Aug. 31, 2022, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will cover the new bivalent Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine as a payable pharmacy benefit.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Sept. 16, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after Aug. 31, 2022, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization, COVID-19 vaccine administration codes 0124A and 0134A are benefits of Medicaid, Healthy Texas Women (HTW), the Family Planning Program (FPP), and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Sept. 23, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after Oct. 12, 2022, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s amended Emergency Use Authorization, COVID-19 vaccine administration codes 0144A and 0154A are benefits of Medicaid and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Oct. 31, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after Oct. 19, 2022, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s amended emergency use authorization, COVID-19 vaccine administration code 0044A is now a benefit of Medicaid, Healthy Texas Women (HTW), the Family Planning Program (FPP), and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program for the administration of the Novavax booster dose to individuals 18 years of age or older.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Nov. 7, 2022.

Effective for dates of service on or after Dec. 8, 2022, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s amended Emergency Use Authorizations, COVID-19 vaccine administration codes 0164A (Moderna) and 0173A (Pfizer-BioNTech) are benefits of Texas Medicaid and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program for administration of the Moderna COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine to individuals 6 months through 5 years of age and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine to individuals 6 months through 4 years of age.

Read the TMHP bulletin issued on Jan. 19, 2023.

Become a COVID-19 Vaccinator

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is actively recruiting providers to serve as COVID-19 vaccinators.

Interested providers should visit the Provider Vaccine Information webpage on the DSHS website.

Teleservices

Medicaid and CHIP health plans have flexibility to provide teleservices, including in a member’s home. HHSC has encouraged health plans to take advantage of these options when responding to COVID-19.

In addition, many fee-for-service policies have been updated to allow teleservices. Please refer to the Medicaid and CHIP Teleservices webpage and the Texas Medicaid Provider Procedures Manual for additional information.

CLASS Professional and Specialized Therapies

Interim guidance for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy behavioral support, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, dietary services, music therapy and recreational therapy delivered by telehealth has been released. Read the following for more information:

Nursing Services for CLASS, DBMD, HCS and TxHmL

During the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibilities were put in place to allow nursing assessments to be provided by telehealth (synchronous audio-visual technology). Certain parts of this flexibility are being made permanent effective May 1, 2022. Other parts will end when the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends. Read the HHSC alert posted on April 28, 2022 for more information.

CHIP Co-Payments

Effective Dec. 21, 2022, for all CHIP members, copayments are waived for COVID-19 related vaccines (and the administration of such vaccine), testing, and treatment, including preventative therapies and treatment of post-COVID conditions (long-haul COVID-19), and treatment of health conditions that may seriously complicate the treatment of COVID-19 during the period when a beneficiary is diagnosed with or is presumed to have COVID-19. This policy is contingent on the public health emergency and will end on the last day of the first calendar quarter that begins one year after the last day of the COVID-19 public health emergency period. 

Medical office visit co-payments are also waived for all CHIP members for services provided from March 13, 2020, through April 30, 2023. Co-payments are not required for covered services delivered via telemedicine or telehealth to CHIP members.

Provider Reimbursement

The member’s MCO will reimburse the provider the full rate for the service, including what would have been paid by the member through cost-sharing. Providers must attest that the medical office visit and/or COVID-19 co-payment was not collected by using the attestation form and submitting an invoice to the appropriate MCO or by submitting a detailed claim that includes the co-payment amount of each claim transaction for services provided in which co-payments were not collected. MCOs have 30 calendar days to pay an invoice received from a provider.

In-Home Service Delivery

CDS employers can continue to allow service providers, such as personal attendants, to enter their home to provide services. Refer to IL 2021-54 (PDF) for more information.

Financial Management Services Agencies (FMSAs) can assist to make any necessary CDS budget revisions.

Temporary Change on Living in Same Home Prohibitions

HHSC temporarily lifted the prohibition on service providers of respite and CFC PAS/HAB from living in the same home as the person receiving Home and Community-based Services and Texas Home Living program services.

More information about temporary changes to this policy are available in IL 2023-06 (PDF) issued on Jan. 30, 2023. This guidance will remain in effect until the end of the PHE.

Appeals and Fair Hearings

Appeals

In response to COVID-19, HHSC requires all MCOs, DMOs and MMPs to extend the timeframes for the number of days members, legally authorized representatives or authorized representatives can request an appeal through March 31, 2023, at which time this extension will end:

  • Normally 60 days to request an MCO internal appeal, now 90 days.

Effective July 1, 2021, MCOs, DMOs and MMPs must enforce the normal, regular and established timeframes that members have to request for continuation of benefits.

HHSC also requires all MCOs, DMOs and MMPs to accept oral requests for appeals without the member having to provide a written request. This is now a federal requirement and, effective Sept. 1, 2022, is updated in the managed care contracts.

Fair Hearings

In response to COVID-19, HHSC is also extending the timeframes for the following through April 30, 2023:

  • Number of days members, legally authorized representatives or authorized representatives have to request a fair hearing.
    • Normally 120 days to request a fair hearing after the internal MCO appeal, now that timeframe is 150 days.
      If the timeframe for a member to request a fair hearing would have expired in April 2022, they will have an extra 30 days from that expiration date to request a fair hearing.
  • Number of days HHSC has to make a fair hearing determination.
    • Normally fair hearings determinations are made within 60 - 90 days of the date HHSC receives a request for a fair hearing, now that timeframe is 120 days.

Managed Care: Face to Face Visits

Service coordination visits

Effective immediately MCOs may allow service coordination visits to be completed in person when requested by the member receiving services. Telehealth should be the primary modality for service coordination visits if in-person is not feasible. Beginning Sept. 1, 2021, MCOs must offer service coordination visits in person when requested by the member receiving services.

For all members, including those with levels of care and ISPs that have been extended, MCOs and MMPs must continue to conduct service coordination and service planning telephonic or telehealth visits to ensure members are receiving needed services.

MCOs and MMPs are required to conduct the same number of contractually required annual outreach contacts, at this time. This applies to facility and community members.

All MCOs and MMPs may use telehealth or telephonic processes to:

  • Coordinate discharge planning for members transitioning from hospitals.
  • Conduct joint meetings with Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authorities (LIDDAs), Case Management Agencies and Direct Service Agencies.
  • Allow providers to provide mental health targeted case management services.
  • Conduct Screening and Assessment Instruments (SAIs) and Individual Service Plans (ISPs) for STAR Kids members not in the Medically Dependent Children’s Program (MDCP).

Telehealth Assessments

STAR+PLUS HCBS and MDCP interest list releases were suspended beginning in April 2020. STAR+PLUS HCBS interest list releases resumed in February 2021. MDCP interest list releases resumed in October 2021.

Effective immediately MCOs may conduct initial MDCP and STAR+PLUS HCBS waiver assessments in person when requested by the member. Telehealth should be the primary modality for the assessments if in-person is not feasible. Telephone may only be used as a last resort.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2021, MCOs must offer waiver assessments in person when requested by the member.

This guidance is for the following groups

  • Individuals who were released from STAR+PLUS HCBS or MDCP interest lists prior to the interest list release suspension.
  • STAR+PLUS HCBS releases beginning in February 2021.

MCOs must start conducting level of care reassessments via telehealth for members with ISPs expiring Dec. 30, 2020, and moving forward. Telephone may only be used as a last resort. ISPs that would have expired through Dec. 31, 2020, have been extended for 12 months. Even if the reassessment results in a denial, eligibility for the waiver will be maintained through the length of the pandemic to comply with maintenance of eligibility requirements in H.R. 6201.

MCOs and MMPs will process a change in condition, including submission of a medical necessity level of care (MNLOC) or screening and assessment instrument (SAI), when it is identified there is a change in the member’s service needs.

Upgrades for STAR+PLUS members who left a nursing facility without HCBS in place

HHSC is allowing STAR+PLUS MCOs and MMPs to use the existing process for requesting upgrades to STAR+PLUS HCBS for members who exited a nursing facility (NF) on or after March 18, 2020, due to concerns about COVID-19 or in accordance with local orders during the early stages of the public health emergency, without HCBS in place. MCOs and MMPs are currently identifying and informing eligible members of the option to upgrade and conducting the STAR+PLUS HCBS Program medical necessity/level of care (MN/LOC) assessment for program eligibility.

Providers should direct STAR+PLUS and MMP members who were discharged from a NF on or after March 18, 2020, currently do not reside in a NF, and still have NF Medicaid to their MCOs for more information about the option to upgrade to STAR+PLUS HCBS. This flexibility has been extended to April 30, 2023.

IDD Waivers and Other Services: Face to Face Visits

Service coordination visits

Effective immediately MCOs may allow service coordination visits to be completed in person when requested by the member receiving services for the following groups:

  • Fee-for-service Medicaid 1915(c) waiver case managers and service coordinators for Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS), Texas Home Living (TxHmL), Deaf-Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD) and Home and Community-based Services (HCS)
  • General Revenue service coordinators
  • Community First Choice service coordinators
  • Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) habilitation coordinators

Telehealth should be the primary modality for service coordination visits if in-person is not feasible. Beginning Sept. 1, 2021, MCOs must offer service coordination visits in person when requested by the member receiving services.

Provider Enrollment

Revalidation Changes

HHSC has reinstated the flexibility that extended revalidation dates due to the PHE and providers will receive specific letters with updates on their revalidation date..

For more information, read the TMHP bulletin issued on Aug. 3, 2022.

Off-Site Facility Application

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, hospitals that have received approval from HHSC via the Health and Human Services COVID-19 Off-Site Facility Application can add alternate physical addresses for temporary off-site facilities.

For more information, read the TMHP bulletin issued on April 20, 2020.

Prior Authorizations

Texas Health Steps Comprehensive Care Program

To comply with House Resolution (H.R.) 6201(116th Congress, 2019-2020; Public Law No:116-127), state Medicaid programs cannot terminate or reduce access to benefits available to beneficiaries beginning March 18, 2020, through the end of the public health emergency.

HHSC has directed MCOs and DMOs to ensure members who turn 21 on or after March 18, 2020, continue to have access to Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPDST) services through the public health emergency.

Texas Health Steps Checkups

HHSC is allowing remote delivery of certain components of medical checkups for children over 24 months of age (i.e., starting after the “24 month” checkup). Because some of these requirements, like immunizations and physical exams, require an in-person visit, providers must follow-up with their patients to ensure completion of any components within 6 months of the telemedicine visit.

This will remain in effect until the end of the PHE. Read the TMHP bulletin issued on April 27, 2022.

For answers to common questions, read the Texas Health Steps Telemedicine Guidance for Providers (PDF), updated on June 16, 2020.

Past Information Sessions

For older handouts and recordings, email Medicaid CHIP.

Resources

Reimbursement for COVID-19 testing and treatment of the uninsured

On April 22, 2020, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched a new COVID-19 uninsured program to support reimbursement to providers and facilities for testing and treatment of the uninsured.

The program includes testing and treatment provided on or after Feb. 4, 2020, and began accepting claims May 6, 2020.

More information is available on the HRSA website. Texas 1135 Request (PDF)