The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will extend Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities through Oct. 23 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Thursday.
Abbott also announced the extension of the emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits. HHSC will provide $185 million to more than 961,000 Texas households in August as a result of the extension, Abbott said.
The Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities will minimize face-to-face interaction and continue the use of telemedicine and telehealth, allowing certain services to be delivered remotely.
"The State of Texas is working to ensure continuity of care for CHIP and Medicaid recipients as we respond to COVID-19," Abbott said in a press release. "The flexibilities the state is providing will protect access to important care and resources that many Texans rely on for their health and safety."
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The HHSC previously provided $835 million in food benefits to Texans between April and July through the SNAP program and received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum amount of benefits to recipients.
"The additional SNAP benefits will help Texans purchase foods that provide nutrition to their families," said Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter in a press release. "Continuing these allotments is an important component of our continued response to COVID-19."
Other Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities that were extended under Abbott's announcement Thursday include extended timelines for appeals and fair hearings and the suspension of certain provider requirements.