A CMS rule issued in early July has set off a scramble among state officials to finalize and submit an application needed to implement their Medicaid expansions allowed by the healthcare reform law. The delay in the rule may push states hard up against the Oct. 1 start of the Medicaid enrollment process for 2014.
States were waiting for details provided by the July 5 rule before submitting state plan amendments required to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs to all residents with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The expansion—a central pillar of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—is expected to add 8 million enrollees to Medicaid programs across the country, according to May estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.
“We anticipated—and everybody anticipated—that this rule would come down in late May and it didn't come down until July,” Penney Hall, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Medicaid agency, said in an interview.
The federal delay has led West Virginia to push back its timeframe for submitting the required applications from June until late August or September. Traditionally, such applications take about 90 days for the CMS to review, although the process can be significantly longer. However, the CMS has told state Medicaid agencies that it plans to expedite its reviews and complete them in as little as 30 days.