The Maximizing Enrollment for Kids program works with states to encourage the enrollment and retention of eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP and establish and promote best practices among 8 states, including Massachusetts. The program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is directed by the National Academy for State Health Policy.
They started a new report series, MaxEnroll Minute, and the first report highlights the progress made by MassHealth: Cutting Red Tape to Keep Eligible Families Enrolled. The report is based on the administrative change that as of September 1st, MassHealth will no longer send out “job update” forms to its members. This administrative simplification will make a huge difference in the lives of MassHealth members, as well as anyone interacts with the program, as it will significantly improve unnecessary breaks in health care coverage. We commend MassHealth’s efforts to cut down on churn as well as extra paperwork in order to ensure continuous coverage for its members.
Based on research Massachusetts officials have conducted, it was found that tens of thousands of MassHealth recipients lose their coverage due to the job change form. The majority of these people are eligible for coverage and will get back on at a later date.
This cycling on and off of coverage is known as ‘churn’ and it is one of the factors that has been found as a barrier to continuous access to health care. This change will significantly decrease churning, increasing MassHealth members’ access to the health care coverage they depend on. It will also save significant staff resources, as state workers will not longer have to send out or process the forms once they’re returned, nor reopen these cases once they have been closed.
Eliminating the job update form is a great first step towards reducing gaps in health care coverage. We urge MassHealth to find other areas to work on maximizing enrollment such as data matching with other federal and state agencies, ‘express lane’ eligibility, and 12-month continuous eligibility. All these enhancements to the MassHealth system would improve access to health care coverage programs.
-Hannah Frigand & Kate Bicego