Forum Session

Medicaid Enrollment: Is the First Step the Hardest?
September 10, 2010


Judith D. Moore


To receive Medicaid benefits, the first step a potential beneficiary must take is to enroll through a process that determines eligibility for the program under federal and state rules. In many states, enrollment systems are complex, difficult and cumbersome. But procedures vary widely from state to state, and some have simplified their enrollment processes, streamlining both initial eligibility determination and recertification. Such modernization and streamlining of administrative processes will be necessary to sign up the millions of uninsured Americans who will be covered by Medicaid or receive subsidies for health coverage under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The act requires that states implement online applications, as well as electronic coordination between Medicaid, CHIP, health insurance exchange, and subsidy programs. This Forum session addressed the current status of Medicaid eligibility and enrollment processes and considered the need for changes in the future. Speakers described how states have approached this process in the past, discussed what has been learned about streamlining and simplifying enrollment, and considered changes that are necessary to effectively implement the health care reform legislation.


Carol Steckel, Commissioner, Medicaid Agency, State of Alabama, and President, National Association of Medicaid Directors; Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Director, Center for Medicaid, CHIP, Survey and Certification, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Claudia Page, Co-Director, Social Interest Solutions, Oakland, CA

Slides from the presentations by Ms. Steckel, Ms. Mann, and Ms. Page are available for download.

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