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Medicaid Applications Will Be Processed Without Delay As Plans To Integrate Eligibility Processing Through The District’s New Health Insurance Exchange Near Completion

Thursday, September 26, 2013
District’s Health Insurance Exchange is ready to assist Medicaid applicants

(Washington, DC) The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) today announced that DC residents who need medical assistance on October 1, 2013 can still apply for Medicaid and those applications will be processed without delay, according to Wayne Turnage, Director of the District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance.

Beginning October 1, 2013, DC residents who want to apply for Medicaid will have several new options for submitting applications. Through DC Health Link -- the District’s new on-line health insurance marketplace and automated eligibility system -- residents will be able to complete and submit an electronic application over the Internet. Using the DC Health Link Contact Center (1-855-532-5465), residents will be able to apply over the telephone, working with trained eligibility and enrollment experts. Residents will also be able to get help from trained, in-person assisters from 35 community organizations or they can visit a neighborhood service center and submit an application in person. Applicants can continue to mail in their applications if they choose.

The District’s new eligibility system also automates the verification process. This means that people applying for Medicaid on line or over the telephone through DC Health Link will not have to bring in paper documents as proof of eligibility unless the information is inconsistent. Further, residents who are denied Medicaid because they are over the program's income limit will be reassessed to determine whether they qualify for federal premium tax credits that would reduce the cost of their private insurance.

“These new features bring us closer to a seamless, no wrong door approach that promises to be more efficient and less burdensome for District residents and we are excited about our continuing work with the Exchange Authority and the DC Department of Human Services to implement this new integrated approach to eligibility,” notes Director Turnage.

The automation of Medicaid applications is part of a larger project to automate all health and human services assistance applications. “We are moving in a step wise fashion to create a one-stop shop for everyone who lives here,” according to David Berns, Director of the District’s Department of Human Services. “Over the next year, we will continue to build system capacity with the goal of making it easier for residents to apply for the District’s federally supported human service programs and to reduce the burden of annual recertifications.”

The District of Columbia has been on the forefront of health care reform implementation and was one of only two states to expand Medicaid coverage early. Today, one in three residents gets health coverage through Medicaid and only six percent of District residents are uninsured.