States Simplify Medicaid Sign-Ups

In the past two years, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but even more have simplified sign-ups and renewals, according to a 50-state survey released Thursday. For example, 49 states this year take applications for Medicaid by telephone, up from 15 in 2013, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. All but one state now takes online applications, up from 37 in 2013. Previously, many states often required applicants to complete paper applications or apply in person, leading to weeks of processing time. Wider eligibility in most states — combined with easier enrollment options — helps explain why the number of people in Medicaid is at an all-time high of nearly 72 million people, up by more than 13 million people in the past two years, according to the latest tally by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The health law allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility to most people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $16,200 for an individual. States that expanded Medicaid have seen enrollment surge by 31 percent since 2013. But growth has averaged 10 percent even in states that did not expand. Typically Medicaid enrollment falls as the economy improves and unemployment drops because people gain jobs and health coverage.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News


David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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