BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Louisiana Blazing Trail for Streamlined Medicaid Enrollment
Louisiana has earned lots of attention for jump-starting Medicaid enrollment of more than 235,000 people on July 1, the first day of its Medicaid expansion. Less celebrated but also important, it’s the first state to use a recent option to enroll SNAP (formerly food stamp) participants in Medicaid while avoiding duplicative paperwork for state workers and consumers.
The option, which allowed Louisiana to enroll thousands of SNAP participants on July 1, will also enable it to continuously fast-track enrollment of new SNAP participants in Medicaid. And it will simplify Medicaid’s annual renewal process for hundreds of thousands of people enrolled in both Medicaid and SNAP.
The overwhelming majority of SNAP participants are also eligible for Medicaid in states that have expanded Medicaid. But because SNAP and Medicaid count income and household size differently, determining eligibility can require redundant efforts for both state workers who determine eligibility and consumers who must submit proof of their income.
States using the option to newly enroll SNAP participants in Medicaid identify participants who are certain to be eligible for Medicaid, notify them that they may qualify, and ask if they want to enroll. After they answer a few questions to confirm their eligibility, they can enroll. States using the option to renew Medicaid coverage simply notify consumers that their Medicaid coverage will continue based on information they already provided to qualify for SNAP.
This option requires deep expertise in both Medicaid and SNAP rules and collaboration between agencies. In implementing it, Louisiana not only created a way to streamline enrollment and renewal for Louisianans, but also established a model for other states that want to cut red tape for people eligible for Medicaid and SNAP.