Medicaids new documentation requirements for proving citizenship have
led to widespread declines in enrollment and increased administrative
costs, according to href="http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1428" target="_new">reports
target="_new">reportsreleased today. In a survey of state
Medicaid officers from 44 states, the Government Accountability Office
found that half the states are experiencing declines in coverage because
of the requirement, which went into effect a year ago. Many states are
reporting that the individuals losing coverage appear to be U.S.
citizens, the GAO found.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 mandated that states start providing
documentary evidence to support that Medicaid-eligible persons were U.S.
citizens. Anyone who wants coverage must produce satisfactory
documentation, such as a U.S. passport, a certificate of naturalization
or U.S. citizenship, a U.S. birth certificate, or a final adoption decree
in order to apply. The requirement that these documents must be
originals, in addition to the complexity of the documentation process,
increases the burden on individuals and states, the report stated.
All 44 states reported that additional administrative measures were
necessary to comply with the new requirements, such as training Medicaid
agency staff, community agencies and providers. In another report, six
states that provided data to the majority staff of the House Oversight
Committee reported that the administrative costs of implementing the
documentation requirements far exceeded savings to taxpayers.
The CMS in its response to the GAO report thought its conclusions
overstated the requirements effect on Medicaid enrollment, and was
concerned about the fact that the states did not submit data to
substantiate their responses to the survey.-- by href="mailto:[email protected]">Jennifer Lubell
href="mailto:[email protected]">Jennifer Lubell