Cherokee Regional Medical Center Friday, Apr 14, 2023

(4-13-23) Don’t Risk Losing your Medicaid coverage through Amerigroup and Iowa Total Care

Three years ago, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily waived certain Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements and conditions to prevent people from losing their health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicaid and CHIP eligibility reviews restarted in Iowa on April 1, 2023, and will continue through the next 12 months.

“According to some estimates, when states resume these reviews, up to 15 million people could lose their current Medicaid or CHIP coverage through a process called ‘unwinding’.” (Department of Health and Human Services)

Cherokee Regional is working to educate the public on the enrollment “unwinding” process to minimize the number of people who could lose Medicaid coverage through Amerigroup and Iowa Total Care.

According to CMS, the Medicaid and CHIP continuous enrollment unwinding will happen in 2 phases. Right now, Cherokee Regional is focusing on Phase 1: Prepare for the renewal process and educate Medicaid and CHIP enrollees about the upcoming changes.

“It’s extremely important for enrollees in Medicaid and parents of children with CHIP to pay attention to their mailboxes as they prepare to renew their coverage. Make sure the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services has your current mailing address and pertinent contact information so coverage renewal information makes it to you,” said Tyler Gerstandt, Cherokee Regional’s Vice President of Finance/CFO.

Phase 2 is to ensure Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries take steps to renew coverage, and transition to other coverage if they no longer meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid or CHIP.

“A letter about your Medicaid or CHIP coverage will be mailed to the address the Iowa Department of Human Services has on file. This will let you know if you need to complete a renewal form to see if you still qualify for Medicaid or CHIP,” said Gerstandt. “To help avoid a gap in your health coverage, fill that form out and return it right away.”

What if you don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP?

If you or a family member no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, you may be able to buy a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace®. Marketplace plans are:

  • 4 out of 5 enrollees can find plans that cost less than $10 a month.
  • Most plans cover things like prescription drugs, doctor visits, urgent care, hospital visits, and more.

Visit to find Marketplace plans and see if you might save on premiums. When you apply, do not forget to include current information about your household, income, and your state’s recent decision about your Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

Get more information

  • Visit to check eligibility or apply for benefits.
  • Contact Iowa Medicaid Member Services (Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
    • 1-800-338-8366 (Toll Free)
    • 1-515-256-4606 (Des Moines Area)