Success with Fast-Tracked Enrollment Strategies: How 70,000 Oregonians Got Covered

By Liz Hagan

As we’ve written about before, several states are quickly and efficiently connecting eligible individuals and families to Medicaid coverage using fast-tracked enrollment strategies.

These strategies allow states to more easily identify and enroll eligible individuals and families in Medicaid coverage by using existing data sources. The first strategy allows states to use data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to identify and enroll eligible people in Medicaid, while the other strategy gives states the ability to determine whether children enrolled in Medicaid have parents that are also eligible for coverage, and if so, the ability to enroll the parents in coverage.

Both of these strategies provide great opportunities for states to target their enrollment efforts while simplifying the enrollment process for consumers. Oregon has taken advantage of both of the above strategies and has a few promising practices we’d like to share.

Oregon’s Approach

Oregon identified about 300,000 adult Oregonians eligible for Medicaid (the Oregon Health Plan, OHP) based on their eligibility for SNAP or their child’s eligibility for OHP or Healthy Kids (Oregon’s Children’s Health Insurance Program).

Here are a few promising practices the state has incorporated into their fast-tracked enrollment strategy:

  • The state sent very simple, easy-to-understand letters and forms for consumers to fill out (this letter for SNAP enrollees and this letter for parents of children in OHP/Healthy Kids). To make the process easy, OHP included a stamped, pre-addressed envelope for individuals to return the form in.
  • Consumers can enroll in OHP coverage by either returning the form in the mail or calling a toll-free number and providing a telephonic signature over the phone.
  • Once a consumer officially enrolls in the OHP coverage, they receive a confirmation letter, welcome packet, and an OHP member ID card. The welcome packet includes details on how to begin using coverage, where to go to get questions answered, an overview of the enrollees’ rights and responsibilities, and how to renew coverage.
  • Oregon created a plan to follow-up with consumers who didn’t respond to the initial contact by OHP.

Results

As of December, Oregon reports that 70,000 adults (about 27% of those who received letters) returned the form and were subsequently enrolled in OHP. While the success we reported out of Arkansas had response rates of about 43%, the SNAP enrollees in Arkansas had a deadline to enroll after receiving the letter. Though Oregon did include language in the initial letter encouraging consumers to enroll in time to get coverage beginning January 1, 2014, there is no overall deadline for consumers to follow up with OHP to enroll in OHP coverage. So it is likely that Oregon’s enrollment numbers through this method will continue to rise over time, especially if follow-up is successful.

We hope many more states will explore the adoption of these strategies, and before 2015 when the SNAP option expires, so that we can maximize the number of individuals enrolled in comprehensive affordable coverage.

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