Idaho identifies about 70,000 newly eligible for Medicaid

Posted at 2:01 AM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 04:01:07-04

BOISE, Idaho — State agencies have identified about 70,000 Idaho residents who now are eligible for Medicaid under the upcoming expansion in January.

"We have good information on those folks, because we have an integrated eligibility system in Idaho," said Matt Wimmer, administrator of the Division of Medicaid for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The Idaho Press reports the integrated eligibility system uses one application for a variety of state benefits like food stamps, mental health programs and the state health insurance exchange. Wimmer says the state is using that data to notify people who previously didn't qualify for Medicaid but who are now eligible to enroll starting Nov. 1.

"All of that runs through the same system," Wimmer said. "Because of that, we've got information on a lot of the folks who would be potentially eligible."

The department has identified about 69,860 people and is conducting an assisted enrollment program to notify them and get them enrolled in the state's new Medicaid expansion.

"They just need to respond, confirm their information . and then we'll go ahead and enroll them," Wimmer said. That process started in July and is continuing; 17,000 people have already confirmed.

The state's notification process won't include everyone who is eligible, just those who have recently applied for other state benefits. Another 21,000 people not currently identified by the state are also expected to sign up for Medicaid next month, Wimmer said.

Voters approved an initiative last year to expand Medicaid eligibility to people who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That's $17,236 annually for a single person, or $35,535 for a family of four. The previous state rules left thousands of residents in the "coverage gap," earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance through Idaho's health care exchange.