More States Turn to the Internet to Improve Enrollment in CHIP, Medicaid
A number of states are turning to the Internet and other new technologies to improve enrollment in CHIP and Medicaid, according to a National Governors Association report. As part of their efforts to make navigation of CHIP "as simple as possible," states use online application systems to streamline the enrollment process and increase access, while at the same time eliminating asset tests and face-to-face interviews from the application process, according to the report. The report profiles those states that are already using online application systems, either statewide or in regional pilot programs. Statewide systems include California's Health-e-App, a Web-based application administered on wireless laptops by state workers. Since it began in January 2001, Health-e-App has reduced the time needed for eligibility determination by 21% and cut enrollment errors by nearly 40%. Ninety percent of applicants indicated they would rather use Health-e-App than a written application. Georgia's PeachCare for Kids also uses a Web-based enrollment program that allows parents to apply online in a health care provider's office when they take their child for a doctor visit. As of April, the system had handled more than 29,000 applications since its inception in April 2001. The report also profiles statewide online enrollment systems in Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington and regional pilot programs in Florida, Michigan and Arizona. The report lists recommendations for other states considering online enrollment for CHIP. Among the suggestions:
- States should form development groups to identify and address organizational failures between agencies -- often the most difficult challenge in implementation.
- If permitted by law, states should consider an online application that requires no signature or accepts an electronic signature.
- States should choose representative test populations for pilot programs.
- To provide a quick response to users, states should create an application system that communicates with the eligibility system in real time, rather than overnight or in batches of applications.
- States should create a secure system to protect applicants' privacy when transferring or storing information (NGA issue brief, 5/29).
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