HHS working with states on exchanges, Medicaid enrollment issues


To help ensure a smoother enrollment process this year, the Department of Health and Human Services is working with state health insurance exchanges, especially ones that struggled amid technical difficulties last year, as well as Medicaid officials.

"We are working on a state-by-state basis to provide the support, and the support is different in each of these states," HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said last week, according to The Washington Times.

Many of the states have already made progress. For example, after Oregon decided to completely replace its exchange by switching to the federal version, it loaded all plan and rate information for the 15 participating insurers onto Healthcare.gov, and is ready to tell existing customers to re-enroll on the federal exchange.

And Nevada's exchange, which will use the federal system, is ready for consumers to begin their enrollment process on the state exchange site and will then direct them to the Healthcare.gov website.

Meanwhile, HHS is addressing issues with Medicaid enrollment, which is expected to surge when the exchanges sign-up period begins next month, the The Wall Street Journal reported.

Some states still struggle to process backlogs of Medicaid applicants. California, for example, has almost 160,000 people waiting to enroll in the state's Medicaid program. Burwell said HHS is working with each state individually to address backlogs. "Each state actually varies as to why there are issues with the backlogs," she said, according to the WSJ. "We are working on literally a state-by-state basis to clear it."

The application process on Healthcare.gov is better, but it is not "fixed," Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told the WSJ.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Times article
- see the Wall Street Journal article

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