Labor Day Gift Comes Early for Some Hard-hit American Families

The proposed rule is designed to reduce red tape associated with enrollment in Medicaid and related programs.

In a move that some might surmise as an early Labor Day gift to some of America’s most beleaguered families, President Joe Biden, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on Wednesday announced a proposed rule to overhaul the country’s enrollment process for Medicaid along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Basic Health Programs (BHP). The total number of low-income working families is 47.5 million, including 23.5 million children.

In a news release, CMS said that the move by the administration would be a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noting that the proposed rule is intended “to reduce red tape and simplify application and verification processes to make it easier for children, older adults, and people with lower incomes with Medicaid and CHIP coverage to enroll in and retain vital health insurance.”

CMS also noted in its news release that more than 88 million are currently enrolled in Medicaid, CHIP, and the BHP. Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in July 1965. Today, Medicaid is the single largest health coverage program in the U.S., covering nearly one in four Americans. Together, Medicaid and CHIP provide 51 percent of the nation’s children and youth—more than 40 million children, according to CMS.

According to CMS the proposed rule, if finalized, would “standardize commonsense eligibility and enrollment policies, such as limiting renewals to once every 12 months, allowing applicants 30 days to respond to information requests, requiring prepopulated renewal forms, and establishing clear, consistent renewal processes across states.”

The NPRM, according to the CMS new release, proposes simplifications that would increase enrollment and retention for people ages 65 and older, as well as those who have blindness or a disability. The proposed rule, if finalized, would streamline the application process for these programs by removing unnecessary administrative hurdles for people who do not have—but are eligible for— Medicaid, CHIP, or BHP coverage.

The proposed rule would also allow for automatic enrollment in Medicare Savings Programs for certain individuals receiving the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income. Finally, in a nod to the need for accurate documentation, the proposed rule would “update and standardize recordkeeping requirements for states, which would help to address deficiencies in outdated state recordkeeping systems and improve program integrity.”

To review or comment on the NPRM during its 60-day public comment period, visit the Federal Register.


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