This week in Washington—Kaiser releases its 50-state Medicaid survey. You are tuning in to the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems health policy update for the week of Jan. 28, 2013.
On Jan. 23, the Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and Uninsured released their 50-state survey of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Eligibility and Enrollment Policies. The survey showed that there are signs of economic recovery at the state level, and Medicaid enrollment is starting to slow. In 2012, 23 states took favorable steps to streamline coverage for families. The survey found that most, if not all states, are working to ready for 2014, even those states that are not planning to expand their Medicaid programs as called for by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most states are working towards a “no wrong door” system for enrollment, which is a provision in the ACA aimed at ensuring that anyone who is applying to the Medicaid program is screened for all health subsidy programs and are processed efficiently without the need for redundant forms and eligibility determinations.
There is considerable federal funding for states to upgrade and implement high-performing IT systems used to enroll and determine eligibility for the Medicaid program. States have utilized these available resources and have focused on implementing changes to better coordinate and streamline enrollment and renewal for the Medicaid and CHIP programs in their states. The survey found that 42 states began work on Medicaid eligibility IT system upgrades in 2012. Those upgrades include the use of online accounts, uploading scanned documents for verification and paperless notices. The survey noted that most states are also working towards improving quality with an aim towards cost containment.
In addition to the survey, Kaiser also released a brief—Faces of the Medicaid Expansion: How Obtaining Medicaid Coverage Impacts Low-Income Adults. This brief highlights low-income Medicaid beneficiaries and tells their story and struggle. The brief gives a more anecdotal telling of the positive impacts of obtaining Medicaid coverage.
Thanks for listening to another edition of This Week in Washington. I’m Zina Gontscharow; join us next week for another update.