Health: Medicaid, SNAP benefit reductions coming soon

Memorial Regional Health

If you or someone you care about receives health insurance from Medicaid, also called Health First Colorado, or food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, please be advised that benefits reductions are coming this spring.

Memorial Regional Health has compiled this information to alert our community to the impending changes as well as important actions you can take to continue to receive the assistance you need.

Why this is happening

In January 2020 the U.S. government declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19. This in turn led to additional but temporary public benefits, such as higher SNAP allotments and Medicaid eligibility for those earning more money than the previous threshold.

The public health emergency has been renewed every 90 days since its inception. But because COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations have now fallen significantly, and because the current U.S. Congress has opted to no longer support funding for the increased public benefits provided by public health emergency measures, the emergency designation will end in May.

This means that soon, both SNAP and Medicaid benefits will return to their pre-pandemic levels.  

Important dates

The following benefits will change in spring 2023:

  • SNAP benefits reductions will begin in March.
  • Medicaid/Health First Colorado will require most members to fill out annual paperwork to requalify for and renew their coverage. Your renewal month will correspond to the month you first received coverage. You will receive a recertification packet by mail two months before your renewal date. Those with May renewal dates will be the first to receive their recertification packets, which will arrive in March.
  • The public health emergency is slated to officially end on May 11.


More than 290,000 Colorado households rely on SNAP to feed their families. SNAP is a federal program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2022, grocery prices increased 11.4%. According to the news site Stacker, Moffat County has 1,730 residents — about 13% of residents — living with food insecurity.

During the pandemic, SNAP recipients in 30 states, including Colorado, received substantial additional emergency allotments. Effective March 1, Colorado SNAP benefits will no longer include the additional allotments. This means that the SNAP amount a family receives will be reduced, on average, $90 per person per month.

What you can do

  • Keep and use any rollover SNAP benefits for up to nine months.
  • Use any balance you may have to stock up on nonperishable essentials.
  • Visit Colorado SNAP’s educational website for information on eating nutritiously on a budget.
  • Pick up free food at local food banks (see information chart below).
  • For additional resources, call Hunger Free Colorado at 855-855-4626 8 am to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Medicaid/Health First Colorado

In Colorado, the Medicaid program is called Health First Colorado, or HFC. Statewide, 19% of the population — or more than 1.6 million people — are covered by HFC and its sister program for children and pregnant women, Child Health Plan Plus. In Moffat County, 34% of the population is covered by HFC, or approximately 4,500 people.

During the public health emergency, HFC income eligibility thresholds were higher than they were before the emergency designation. Throughout the pandemic, it was possible to qualify for HFC with a household income of 138% of the federal poverty level. In addition, the public health emergency eliminated the need to reapply for HFC annually. For the past several years, members were automatically reenrolled each year.

Colorado’s HFC-covered population grew nearly 40 percent during the pandemic as a result of these enhancements.

Soon, however, HFC recipients will be required to reapply and requalify once a year, during the same month in which they originally received coverage. The income eligibility threshold will drop back to 100% (versus 138%) of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level varies by household size and in 2023 ranges from a modified adjusted gross annual income of $14,580 for a household of one to $50,560 for a household of eight.

Chris Underwood, chief administrative officer of the Colorado Department of Health Care and Financing, estimates that 315,000 Coloradans will lose HFC benefits under the new standards. But Underwood also predicts that many will lose coverage not because they make more money than the new income thresholds but because they will fail to verify their eligibility by completing the required paperwork.

Some people may be particularly at risk for being dropped from HFC coverage for reasons other than income levels. These include people who have moved and haven’t updated their addresses with HFC, those with limited English proficiency and those with some disabilities.

What you can do

  • Be sure that HFC has your current phone number, email and mailing address. Do this by 1) visiting, going to your “Mailbox” and updating your communication preferences, 2) using the Health First Colorado app to update your account information, or 3) contacting the Moffat County Department of Human Services at 970-824-8282.
  • Know your renewal month. Do this by 1) visiting to access your account information, 2) using the Health First Colorado app to view your account information, or 3) contacting the Moffat County Department of Human Services at 970-824-8282.
  • When you receive your renewal packet in the mail, fill it out thoroughly and return it immediately well in advance of your renewal month. The renewal process generally takes weeks. Memorial Regional Health has found that the paper process is the most reliable, but you may also complete your renewal application at or on the Health First Colorado app. Note that all applications for Health First Colorado are also automatically considered for CHP+ as well. You do not need to submit more than one application for your family. Also, income thresholds are higher for CHP+ eligibility. 
  • If you are deemed ineligible for HFC, enroll for subsidized healthcare coverage through Connect for Health Colorado,
  • Call Memorial Regional Health’s Care Coordination office at 970-826-8011 for assistance with HFC applications or renewals, or with Connect for Health Colorado enrollment. 
AgencyAvailable ServicesWhen
Department of Human Services
595 Breeze St., Craig
– Food assistance (SNAP)
– New & replacement EBT cards
– Note: Bring picture ID
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Northwest Colorado Health
745 Russell St., Craig
– Food assistance through WIC—Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children
Monday – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 6  p.m. Wednesday/Thursday – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Interfaith Food Bank
517 Breeze St., Craig
– Various food items distributed
– Holiday food baskets (when supplies available)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday,
10:30 a.m. to noon
Love INC
Partnership of area
– Assistance with food and various needs; call for more information
– May deliver to homebound or those without transportation
Tuesday and Friday
9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday and Thursday
9 a.m. to noon
Wednesday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Everyday Eats,
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
Distribution by:
595 Breeze St., Craig
– TEFAP is for low-income households
– CSFP is for low-income seniors
– Various food items distributed
– Note: One distribution per month per household
3rd Tuesday of each month,
10 a.m. to noon

3rd Thursday of each month,
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
St. Michael’s Community Kitchen
678 School St., Craig
– Free hot meals for carryout
– Various food items distributed
– Meal delivery to homebound
Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Food Bank of the Rockies
Mobile Food Pantry
Moffat County Pavilion, 640 E. Victory Way, Craig
– Various food items distributed
2nd Monday of each month, 11 a.m. to noon
Church of Destiny Food Bank
2218 Baker Dr., Craig
– Various food items distributedMonday, 11 a.m. to noon

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