How to reach newly Medicaid-eligible

MSU study provides clues on barriers and outreach efforts to reach 450,000 working adults now eligible to enroll in Medicaid.

Michigan legislators passed a law to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 450,000 working adults, signed by Governor Snyder on September 16, 2013. After Obama administration approval, the next step is enrolling those eligible for Medicaid through the Health Insurance Marketplace. A recent research study identified both potential barriers and effective outreach to newly Medicaid-eligible residents.

A survey was conducted by the Office of Research in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. The survey was administered at Michigan Consumers for Healthcare member local community-based agencies, which were selected to approximate geographic and demographic characteristics of Michigan low-income residents who would become eligible for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Conclusions indicated that almost half of the respondents who said they do not have health coverage encountered a problematic situation such as a previous bad experience at the Department of Human Services (DHS): needing help filling out the application, not having the required documentation or finding the application process confusing. The data showed consistent themes that a significant number of respondents have been denied for Medicaid, became ineligible, believed they were not eligible and had children who are covered but were not eligible for Medicaid themselves. Overcoming the “trust” barrier will be a key factor, which is having someone at a local community-based organization who can explain that eligibility is based on income and assets requiring personal information.

Most study respondents had a high level of access to the internet through computers and cell phones at their homes, local libraries, school and/or work. Study findings showed the internet is an effective way to provide information about Medicaid covered services, eligibility and enrollment.

For answers to your questions about health insurance, go to Q&A or the Health Insurance FAQs - eXtension. Michigan State University Extension plans to provide education about health insurance basics this fall, including the why, what and how for making a smart decision. Delivery will include online webinars with access by all Michigan residents.

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