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Clearinghouse Releases ACA-LIHEAP Report

January 30, 2015–The LIHEAP Clearinghouse has issued a new report titled, "Integrating Health and Human Service Programs to Expand Eligibility." The report examines how existing networks of state governments and nonprofit agencies could be integrated to help locate individuals who are eligible for subsidies and streamline their enrollment in health insurance, Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and LIHEAP programs.

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans were provided the opportunity to attain health insurance coverage. Under the ACA, households with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) are eligible for federal subsidies to help them afford health insurance premiums.

Many of the households that qualify for this subsidized health insurance also qualify for other human service programs such as LIHEAP, SNAP, and TANF. Ideally, officials reasoned, households could apply for the ACA and have their eligibility for these additional programs determined through electronic data obtained and shared by human service programs. This streamlined process would help reduce the need for applicants to apply in person with paper documents for each program. In addition, information from ACA and other health programs, including Medicaid, could be shared with these other human service programs in order to verify eligibility and increase enrollment. Likewise, these existing networks of state government and nonprofit agencies could help locate those eligible for health insurance subsidies and streamline their enrollment.

The goals of streamlined approaches are: increased efficiency and accuracy, as well as lower administrative costs in obtaining eligibility data; increased efficiency of eligibility determination and verification; and fewer burdens on applicants.

This report focuses on the potential to streamline ACA eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention through coordination of human service and health programs, primarily through upgrades to information technology (IT).This report also focuses on the potential of the LIHEAP network to enhance ACA enrollment efforts, including use of community action agencies that administer LIHEAP locally in about half of the states.

Source: LIHEAP Clearinghouse