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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Healthcare Site Problems Prevent Thousands of Medicaid Sign-Ups

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tens of thousands of low-income individuals have been prevented from signing up for Medicaid because of the faulty federal healthcare website that the Obama administration is struggling to fix. serves as the gateway not only to buy private insurance with federal subsidies, but also to get Medicaid coverage.

But for the past six weeks, those eligible for the program have been left in limbo due to a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the troubled website, to delay the transfer of Medicaid applications to state agencies.

The delay was done so technicians could “spend more time concentrating on the application process” and other priorities that need fixing, according to The New York Times.

People in 36 states have been impacted by the delay.

Under the Affordable Care Act (pdf), the federal government is supposed to “promptly and without undue delay” transfer the applications of those going through that meet the requirements for Medicaid eligibility to states.

But the Obama administration has failed to carry out this important provision of the law.

Unlike regular insurance coverage accessed through the website, which can begin on January 1, those eligible for Medicaid can be covered immediately. Consequently, the website problems are even more impactful to potential Medicaid recipients. Filing a separate application with their state Medicaid office may be more practical and efficient than waiting for the files to be transferred and the website to get up to speed.

“We have not seen much progress on the flow of data from the federal marketplace to the state,” Monica H. Coury, assistant director of the Medicaid program in Arizona, told the Times. “After a person is assessed as potentially eligible for Medicaid, the application just sits there in the federal marketplace. If you need insurance because you have a serious medical condition, that delay could be harmful.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff
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