Time Is Money: Fast-Tracking Medicaid Enrollment Saves States a Bundle

By Liz Hagan

One of our latest issue briefs, co-produced with Families USA, looks at how Illinois and West Virginia were both able to save money by fast-tracking consumers’ enrollment in Medicaid. These two states, along with a four other states, took up options offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last May that allow states to better streamline Medicaid enrollment.

States implementing these strategies can quickly connect consumers to coverage based on their enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) or their child’s enrollment in Medicaid. While these policies are promising because they ease the enrollment process for consumers, they also hold promise for state Medicaid agencies wanting to save money, time, and resources. As shown below, Medicaid staff in Illinois and West Virginia were able to save significant time when processing incoming Medicaid applications when using the fast-track methods. This is because states are able to rely on information they already have rather than having to verify new consumers’ information.

IL Fast-Track Medicaid

Fast-Track Medicaid West Virginia

And as they say, time is money. West Virginia realized nearly $270,000 in savings for the nearly 72,000 Medicaid applications it processed through the fast-track process.

Some states have struggled with efficiently enrolling Medicaid-eligible consumers who have applied for coverage through Medicaid or their marketplace. Fast-track enrollment strategies can mitigate this problem by enrolling eligible consumers in coverage before they even apply for coverage.

States also have the option to do what Illinois did: use data from their SNAP system to fast-track Medicaid applications that were already submitted. Rather than processing incoming Medicaid applications through traditional means, Illinois used information on pending Medicaid applications to find those who were receiving SNAP benefits. It then used this information to fast-track those consumers’ enrollment.

Read more about how fast-tracking enrollment can save states money in our new issue brief. 

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