Advancing Strategies to Align Programs

Advancing Strategies to Align Programs (ASAP) is an advocacy initiative to help state advocates work to increase enrollment in work support programs, particularly Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as food stamps), through program alignment and information sharing. Drawing on lessons from the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative and leveraging opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this initiative comes at a time when many advocates and states are focused on providing work supports in the most efficient and integrated  manner.

Increasing enrollment will ensure low-income people have the health insurance and nutrition support to meet their basic needs and achieve stability, allowing adults to succeed at work and promoting children’s healthy development.  A significant and growing body of evidence shows that participation in work support programs improves short- and long-term health, educational, and economic outcomes. Research also suggests that receiving the full package of work support benefits, rather than just a single program, can be of particular importance in helping low-income people stabilize their lives.

Advocates have received support from CLASP to advocate for improved delivery systems and integration of key work support programs. In partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, CLASP is providing grantees with in-depth technical assistance and sharing lessons learned from the project with a broader audience of advocates.

Current ASAP Grantees
- Children’s Advocacy Alliance (Nevada)
Hunger Task Force (Wisconsin)
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Illinois)
Health Equity Solutions (Connecticut)
Connecticut Voices for Children
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
Southern Learning Community Grantees:
Alabama Arise
Center for Public Policy Priorities (Texas)
Florida Policy Institute
Kentucky Voices for Health
Louisiana Budget Project
Mississippi Center for Justice
South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
Tennessee Justice Center

Former ASAP Grantees
Hunger Free Colorado
- North Carolina Justice Center
- The Center for Community Solutions (Ohio)
- Three Square (Nevada)
- Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County 
- Virginia Poverty Law Center

Resources

Using Administrative Advocacy to Improve Access to Public Benefits
-These policy briefs are intended to help advocates understand the leverage points for improving the administration of Medicaid and SNAP. Additional briefs will be posted throughout 2019.
Racial Equity Resources
1619 Project
1619 Podcast on health disparities
Podcast about Linda Taylor (“welfare queen”)
Kaiser report on health coverage by race and ethnicity
Data and Resources
FNS State Options Report
Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal and Cost Sharing Policies 50-State Survey
Medicaid MAGI and CHIP Application Processing Time Report
Opportunities for States to Coordinate Medicaid and SNAP Renewals
Reasonable Compatibility Policy Presents and Opportunity to Streamline Medicaid Determinations

WEBINAR: Improving Medicaid Renewals
Medicaid renewals often lead to eligible beneficiaries losing coverage due to procedural issues like not receiving notices or not providing required forms. But there is an opportunity to significantly improve Medicaid renewals by taking advantage of the ex parte process, which allows agencies to rely on electronic data sources to renew eligibility without requiring any action from beneficiaries. This webinar will explore opportunities to increase the success rate of ex parte renewals, how to get information from your agency on how renewals are currently being conducted in the eligibility system, expanding ex parte renewals to the non-MAGI population, and streamlining the process for beneficiaries unable to be renewed ex parte. National experts and state advocates will present on their experiences, challenges, and successes.

Panelists:
Suzanne Wikle, Project Director - Advancing Strategies to Align Programs, The Center for Law and Social Policy.
Jennifer Wagner, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Shelby Gonzales, Director of Enrollment and Outreach, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Louise Hayes, Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
Beth Shapiro, Senior Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.


WEBCAST: Increasing Benefit Access through Administrative Advocacy

On October 20, 2016, we invited a panel of advocates to discuss their administrative advocacy to increase access to work supports like SNAP and Medicaid. The panel explored advocacy around enrollment and eligibility processes. The panelists shared how they approach administrative advocacy differently from other advocacy efforts, the successes they have achieved for clients, and the unique obstacles they have encountered along the way.

Panelists:
Sovereign Hager, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
Vikki O’Neil, Hunger Free Colorado.
Dan Lesser, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.
Louise Hayes, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
Patricia Baker, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

Moderator:
Suzanne Wikle, CLASP

WEBINAR Seamless Renewals: Using Existing Data to Renew Benefits and Prevent Coverage Gaps 

Many people lose Medicaid and SNAP benefits at renewal, often due to cumbersome renewal processes and unnecessary paperwork rather than a change in their eligibility status. States can reduce the number of eligible people losing benefits at renewal by maximizing the use of “ex parte” renewals. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to attempt “ex parte” renewals to renew Medicaid using existing data before requiring enrollees to complete paperwork. On June 21, we held a webinar to discuss best practices for using ex parte renewals for Medicaid and how the process can be coordinated with SNAP to reduce the number of eligible people who lose Medicaid and SNAP at renewal.

Presenters:
Suzanne Wikle, Project Director - Advancing Strategies to Align Programs, The Center for Law and Social Policy
Tricia Brooks, Senior Fellow, Georgetown Center for Children and Families
Jennifer Wagner, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 

Webinar Materials:
Slideshow (PDF)
Making Medicaid Work Better: Lessons from States on Implementing Ex Parte Renewals, by Tricia Brooks
Opportunities for States to Coordinate Medicaid and SNAP Renewals, by Jennifer Wagner and Alicia Huguelet
Understanding the Rates, Causes, and Costs of Churning in SNAP, by G.Mills, T.Vericker, K.Lippold, L.Wheaton, S.Elkin
Lessons Churned: Measuring the Impact of Churn in Health and Human Services Programs on Participants and State and Local Agencies, by Dottie Rosenbaum 

Additional Resources

- Work Support Strategies learned from the experiences of its demonstration states, with the goal of informing broader state and federal policies. This information is disseminated through reports, briefs, fact sheets, and webinars, which can be found on the Resources page. 
ACF/HHS Resource Guide: Interoperability Toolkit
CMS Announcement of 90/10 funding and A-87 waiver extension
Modernizing Benefit Systems: Opportunities and Challenges (Elizabeth Lower-Basch, July 9, 2016)
Integrating Health and Human Services Programs and Reaching Eligible Individuals under the Affordable Care Act (Urban Institute for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HHS)
Moving to 21st-Century Public Benefits: Emerging Options, Great Promise, and Key Challenges (Coalition for Access and Opportunity)
Bridging the Divide: Leveraging New Opportunities to Integrate Health and Human Services (APHSA)
Understanding the Rates, Causes, and Costs of Churning in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Urban Institute for the Food and Nutrition Service, USDA)