States told to address Medicaid backlogs
SACRAMENTO — A half-dozen states with backlogs for Medicaid enrollees were approaching a federal deadline on Monday to establish plans for getting low-income residents enrolled in health coverage.
The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent letters dated June 27 to Alaska, California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee asking those states to address gaps in their eligibility and enrollment systems that have delayed access to coverage for poor and disabled people.
The letters stated that those states had 10 days to deliver a response plan, but health advocates say there is no clear deadline for clearing the backlog.
The federal government “will remain in close contact with states to monitor their progress to ensure that they are facilitating Medicaid enrollment for those individuals eligible,” agency spokeswoman Marilyn Jackson said.
California had the largest backlog of 900,000 people in its Medicaid program as of May, out of 1.9 million who enrolled. The state Department of Health Care Services reported that the backlog has been reduced to 600,000 as of Monday.
“We've been proud of much of what California has done to implement health reform, but we're fundamentally concerned about people who need care and can't access it — people who are going without care, people who are getting medical bills even though they're eligible for Medi-Cal — that's all happening today,” said Elizabeth Landsberg, an advocate with the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
California's information technology problems stem from communication gaps between the state and county welfare systems. Many counties have reported trouble accessing state information necessary to process applications for Medi-Cal, the state's version of the Medicaid safety net program.
Norman Williams, a spokesman for the California Department of Health Care Services, said the volume of applications contributed to the backlog.
The group Health Consumer Alliance sent a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month with a list of recommendations, such as granting presumptive eligibility to all applicants who have waited more than 45 days, the federal timeline for determining eligibility. The group has been hearing from people whose applications are stalled even though they need medical care.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- GOP hopefuls take on illegal immigration in debate preview
- Suspect in Memphis police officer’s killing surrenders
- GOP claims enough votes to reject Iran nuclear deal
- Texas Attorney General Paxton accused of lying to investors
- Planned Parenthood escapes punishment on pair of fronts
- Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
- Baltimore slayings climb to level unseen in decades
- CDC: 1 in 5 American adults live with a disability
- Congress targets Stingray cellphone data monitors
- Jury eyes execution as option for Colorado movie theater shooter
- Cooler weather helps crews battling Calif. wildfire