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By Melissa Hansen

A recent report from the State Health Reform Assistance Network, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, identifies five key steps for states to take if they would like to implement fast track Medicaid enrollment.

Fast tracking allows states to enroll eligible individuals using data states already have “on hand” in their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid files. The report’s findings are based on the experience of Arkansas, Illinois, Oregon and West Virginia, the four states that already implemented fast track enrollment. The report, which may serve as a roadmap for other states, highlights five major steps for successful fast tracking:

  1. Identify eligible individuals
  2. Design a fast track enrollment form
  3. Process returned enrollment forms
  4. Confirm eligibility and provide follow-up information
  5. Conduct a full Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) determination.

Additionally, the report offers guidance to states about how states can secure a waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and gives examples of documents used in current fast track states.

Another report from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured features a series of interviews with  officials from the same states—Arkansas, Illinois, Oregon, and West Virginia. The takeaway from these interviews is that a notable number of people were enrolled through the fast track approach , which has been positively received by consumers and the state employees charged with meeting enrollment goals.  

Melissa Hansen is a program principal in NCSL's health program.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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