- Enrollment got underway Wednesday in Louisiana as it became the 31st state to embrace Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
- HHS granted the state approval for a new enrollment approach that uses already-available information from its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to determine people's eligibility for Medicaid.
- With Louisiana's expansion of Medicaid, the U.S. has reached a “tipping point” in which more than half of those who could benefit from Medicaid expansion live in states that have expanded their program, HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell noted in an HHS news release.
Louisiana's Medicaid expansion will be unique due to its ability to use pre-existing SNAP data to determine eligibility in real time during both initial enrollment and annual renewal, rather than requiring applicants to submit information separately for the two programs.
While some additional states have used similar strategies on a limited basis, Louisiana's arrangement is the first made possible through a federal approval process known as a state plan amendment, HHS said. It will both speed initial enrollment, as well help keep people from falling out of the program by using SNAP data to continually reaffirm Medicaid eligibility.
Louisiana officials estimate 375,000 adults will enroll in Medicaid under the expansion program, and that of those, about 105,000 people currently enrolled in SNAP have been identified as likely to be eligible for coverage.