At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call.
Those delays — due to technological snags with enrollment websites, bureaucratic tangles at state Medicaid programs and a surge of applicants — betray Barack Obama’s promise to expand access to health care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
I’ve had clients that experienced this first hand, although most were able to over come the issues with persistence. Medicaid is a Federal Government/State partnership so the Medicaid experience can vary from state to state.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state health program for the poor seen as a linchpin to expanding health coverage under the 2010 law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).
Eligibility for the program is determined by federal and state guidelines, with the administration of the program left to the states. People enroll for Medicaid through federal or state websites or use other avenues, such as filing paper applications.
I suspect the big problem is overload. Prior to Obamacare, those who applied for Medicaid either wanted Medicaid coverage or it was their only option. Thanks to Obamacare, anyone who wants an advanced subsidy (i.e. receive the subsidy monthly) has to first apply for Medicaid. Typically the goal is to be DECLINED and receive a case number that shows up in the exchange database showing the decline. Assuming the applicant’s income is not above 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, in most cases they will qualify for a subsidy.
As you can imagine, Medicaid was suddenly, although it should not have been unexpectedly, bombarded with applications from people seeking health insurance with a government subsidy. They did NOT want Medicaid, their goal was to be declined so they could finish their application and receive a subsidy. It looks like the Medicaid system is still struggling with the inrush of applications today.