Affordable Care Act improves Medicaid efficiency, enrollment

The Affordable Care Act helped states implement major technological upgrades to their Medicaid systems, as well as streamline both the enrollment and renewal processes and increase administrative effectiveness, according to new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Additionally, the ACA allowed for changes that helped connect eligible individuals to Medicaid coverage more quickly and easily as well as keep eligible people enrolled.

The report--which analyzed the results of a 50-state survey of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost-sharing policies--revealed that the ACA has improved healthcare options for children, pregnant women and non-disabled adults. More states are now offering coverage for children and pregnant women, and 31 states now offer expanded coverage for non-disabled adults with incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

What's more, many states streamlined the plan renewal process by putting procedures in place that that reduced delays. The ACA put a lot of emphasis on streamlining the coordination between Medicaid and the new marketplaces, which resulted in many states delaying the implementation of new renewal processes, the report notes. Still, as of Jan. 2016, 47 states are up-to-date in processing renewals for Medicaid and 34 states report they can complete automatic renewals by using information from electronic data sources.

In an article from Kaiser Health News, Samantha Artiga, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, said that "these [coordination] steps makes it easier and faster for people to connect to coverage."

Looking ahead, the KFF report points out that funding for CHIP is set to expire in 2017, which raises questions about the future of the program and what might happen in its absence. States' Medicaid and CHIP eligibility policies, enrollment and renewal processes will play a key role in reaching the remaining low-income uninsured population in the future, the report adds. 

To learn more:
- here is the report
- read the article