EXCELLENT: CMS announces move to use SNAP data for Medicaid eligibility!

In addition to today's announcement that there's been a net gain of 13.1 million Medicaid enrollees since ACA expansion launched in January 2014, the CMS Dept. also made another announcement which should improve those numbers further, while also streamlining the enrollment and renewal process considerably:

Simplified policies and systems advances that promote timely enrollment of eligible people in coverage underpin this progress.  Today, CMS is taking the next step in those efforts by making new opportunities available for states to help enroll people in Medicaid and CHIP quickly and easily.  Under new guidance released today, we are offering states an opportunity to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data to support Medicaid eligibility determinations for some people who are certain to be Medicaid eligible at both initial application and renewal.  Under new guidance released today (LINK), we are offering states a new state plan option to use gross income established in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to support Medicaid eligibility determinations for some people who are certain to be Medicaid-eligible at both initial application and renewal.  The new guidance also clarifies and extends the time frame that applies in states that are using or wish to take up targeted enrollment strategies under the waiver authority we established in 2013.

I believe using SNAP data or similarly existing low-income status data for residents has already been used by a few states (Oregon and West Virginia come to mind immediately) to "batch-enroll" tens of thousands of residents in Medicaid over the past year and a half; this move by CMS sounds like it would bring a similar capability to the other 48 states (+DC).

Oh, and one other tidbit:

Tomorrow, as Alaska becomes the 30thstate (including DC) to implement Medicaid expansion, it will use some of those strategies to help low-income adults enroll quickly so that they can get needed care.

Note that Alaska's Medicaid expansion program is still at risk from a GOP legislature lawsuit, but it seems to be OK for launch, anyway.