Over the past decade, there have been significant expansions in policies that support low-income working families, such as refundable tax credits, health insurance, child support enforcement, child care subsidies, and nutritional supports.  These programs help hard working families who struggle to meet basic needs due to low wages, irregular hours and lack of benefits. However, this safety net is incomplete.   CLASP advocates for improvements in individual programs and in the service delivery system to help ensure low-income families have the support they need to stay employed and provide for their families.

Sep 4, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

CMS Announces New State Option to Streamline Medicaid Enrollment and Renewal

By Suzanne Wikle

On August 31, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new opportunity for states to use existing data to determine Medicaid eligibility. The new guidance provides states with an exciting new option to use income data from SNAP (or other means-tested programs) to determine Medicaid eligibility, both initially and upon renewal.  Adopting this strategy will reduce administrative burdens on states and recipients, allowing states to offer a streamlined application process to many individuals who are receiving SNAP but not Medicaid, both of which are important work support programs.

The new option provided in this guidance only applies to a subset of SNAP recipients who are certain to be income-eligible for Medicaid based on their gross SNAP income and household composition.  This new tool for states to increase Medicaid enrollment is especially exciting because it can be used for both enrollment and renewal, does not require a waiver, and is available on an ongoing basis. With the new guidance, CMS continues to provide states with tools to simplify Medicaid eligibility determinations, enrollment, and renewals.

This guidance expands upon an option originally provided to states in guidance issued in May 2013. In the six states that opted to use “strategy 3” from the 2013 guidance, which allows states to enroll most SNAP recipients under age 65 into Medicaid,  the use of SNAP data led to more than 700,000 Medicaid enrollments.  However, this strategy can only be used for initial enrollment, requires states to obtain a waiver, and was originally scheduled to expire in December 2015. In the new guidance CMS indicates it will continue to approve waivers beyond the original 2015 expiration date for “strategy 3” and other options provided in the 2013 guidance to the extent “necessary to ensure that states establish income and eligibility determination systems that protect beneficiaries” or in a state that has newly expanded Medicaid eligibility through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

As states continue to tackle the job of implementing the ACA, using new options to streamline and simplify enrollment procedures across programs will be imperative to achieving efficiency and reducing burdens, both for caseworkers and those receiving the benefits.  This week’s guidance from CMS provides states with one more tool to streamline access to work support programs. With numerous additional states adopting Medicaid expansion since the 2013 guidance, this new option has great potential to build upon “strategy 3” and reach millions of uninsured Americans eligible for Medicaid.

Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families

The Work Support Strategies initiative provides a select group of states the opportunity to design, test, and implement more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families. READ MORE »


Advancing Strategies to Align Programs

The Advancing Strategies to Align Programs (ASAP) initiative helps state advocates promote increased enrollment in work support programs, particularly Medicaid and SNAP, through program alignment and information sharing. It draws on the lessons of the Work Support Strategies initiative.

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