Helping Low-Income People Get More Than Medicaid

By Guest Blogger

This blog was written by January Angeles and Shelby Gonzales, Senior Policy Analysts in the Health Division at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Many of us in the health care world are excited about the changes coming in 2014 that will make it easier for people to apply for, enroll in, and renew their Medicaid benefits as a result of the Affordable Care Act. But fewer have focused on what those changes will mean to low-income people’s ability to apply for other benefits like food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and child care subsidies. That’s why we’ve developed a free toolkit to help states streamline and coordinate the process of applying for Medicaid and other human services.

Our toolkit includes seven modules that will help states and stakeholders tackle key questions, such as:

  • How will states structure their major activities across programs, such as accepting applications, processing eligibility and benefits, and answering questions for low-income families?
  • How will low-income people who apply for health coverage through the state’s online application be connected to other human services programs and benefits for which they may be eligible?
  • Who will have access to the different programs’ application and verification systems? Will information in one program be used to verify eligibility or update information for another program?
  • When work is shared across tasks, or among agencies or programs, how will hand-offs work and how will accountability be maintained?

The toolkit includes materials that will be useful to a wide range of stakeholders who are interested in Medicaid eligibility and enrollment. It includes comparisons of the federal Medicaid and SNAP rules and requirements on applications, verifications, and renewals; comparisons of how income is counted under SNAP and Medicaid’s new Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) methodology; and information on different data sources that states can use to verify information from applicants. 

The toolkit also has exercises that will help states assess their current application and enrollment processes and think about how to implement the Affordable Care Act in a way that connects families with all the services they need.

For questions about the toolkit, please contact January Angeles at angeles@cbpp.org or Shelby Gonzales at gonzales@cbpp.org.

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