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FACT SHEET: Homeless Services and Medicaid Enrollment
Fact Sheets | March 26, 2013
Files: FACT SHEET Homeless Services and Medicaid Enrollment – What You Need to Know Now (PDF | 462 KB | 3 pages)
Health care reform is rolling out to consumers. New insurance coverage for millions will take effect on January 1, 2014. Enrollment, however, begins three months sooner.
Beginning October 1, 2013, all consumers will have access to information and the ability to enroll in health insurance through the new online Health Insurance Marketplace. In 24 states, the Marketplace will also serve as a portal to Medicaid for a new group of enrollees who are eligible under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). (For a map showing where your state stands on Medicaid, click here).
In the 24 states expanding Medicaid in 2014, adults with incomes under $15,000 (approximately) will be able to enroll in basic Medicaid benefits. This and other ACA provisions could affect how vulnerable homeless people receive medical services, behavioral health treatment and long-term supports; and how these services are funded in communities. Expansion of Medicaid has the potential to help thousands of homeless people, and possibly to end their homelessness. But it will not help those who are not enrolled.
This Fact Sheet tells you what you can expect and what you should be doing with respect to enrollment. It highlights the key information needed to begin conversations with community leaders and partners, including where to go for more specific information. The Fact Sheet will be updated as new materials become available.
Medicaid Expansion. Communities must plan and prepare to enroll people experiencing homelessness and assure they can benefit as much as possible from Medicaid programs. Frontline service agencies, and their staff who understand vulnerable populations, will fill critical roles, especially in states that choose to cover the new adult group.
• Eligibility decisions are important first steps to guarantee that new applicants are enrolled in programs that best meet their needs. For instance, an applicant who is deemed “medically frail” can have coverage that may be more generous than an applicant who does not meet such criteria.
Streamlined Enrollment. In all 50 states, rules and methods of enrolling people in Medicaid will change (or begin to change), under ACA provisions.
• States will be relying more on existing data systems to verify eligibility, and will relax some of their more onerous rules, such as requiring applicants to specify a home address, or produce original birth certificates and proof of residency. The primary entry point for information and action in the new insurance marketplace is healthcare.gov.
Helping People Enroll. A great many people who are eligible in the new Medicaid group are unfamiliar with their options and will want in-person assistance to help them enroll. In every state, in-person help will be available for people who to decisions about their health care coverage, including their eligibility for Medicaid or other programs to help them get affordable coverage.
• The different ways to help consumers are explained in this short brief, “Assistance Roles to Help Consumers Apply & Enroll in Health Care Coverage Through the Marketplace.”
Links to More Information and Resources
National Alliance to End Homelessness (endhomelessness.org)