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Center’s New Toolkit Will Help States Prepare for Eligibility Changes Under ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not only make affordable health care available to millions of low- and moderate-income, uninsured Americans.  It will also transform how individuals access health coverage programs, bringing eligibility processes into the 21st Century.  This transformation will likely also significantly change how families apply for and receive other benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child care subsidies, that are critical to helping many low-income families make ends meet and are often administered alongside Medicaid.

We have developed a toolkit to help state officials and other stakeholders identify how best to approach these changes in their states, which face numerous questions about how to structure their processes and workforce to maximize efficiency, and how to use technology and other resources.  The changes states make will affect millions of low-income individuals’ and families’ ability to easily obtain Medicaid, SNAP, child care subsidies, and other benefits.

Our toolkit’s seven modules will help states answer key questions, such as:

  • How will people who apply for SNAP and other human services programs apply for Medicaid?  In most states, families that apply for benefits at a local human services office can apply for Medicaid.  Will that still be the norm in 2014?  Or will the poorest families face added burdens to obtaining health coverage because they can only apply for Medicaid through some other process?
  • How will low-income people who apply for health coverage through the state’s online application be connected to other human services programs and benefits?  When low-income individuals apply for health coverage and qualify for Medicaid, will there be a process to help connect them to other benefits and services for which they might be eligible?

Each toolkit exercise gives states and stakeholders the tools they need to assess their current application and enrollment processes — and to help them implement the ACA in a way that connects families with all the services they need.