As of late 2011, no states had fully implemented an electronic system to verify the eligibility of individuals applying for Medicaid long-term care, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living reports (McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living, 8/28).
Individuals applying for Medicaid long-term care must provide financial records -- including paychecks, trusts and annuities, real property and life insurance -- so states can verify their eligibility for the coverage.
A 2008 federal law required states to set up an electronic system to confirm that applicants' information is accurate and to contact financial institutions about whether applicants correctly reported their assets.
States were expected to implement the law on a rolling basis starting in 2009, with the last states adopting new electronic systems in 2013 (Scott, Governing, 8/28).
For the report, GAO researchers conducted an online survey of state Medicaid officials in October and November 2011 (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 8/27).
According to the report, no state as of 2011 had completed setting up an electronic verification system for Medicaid long-term care eligibility.
The report noted that 25 states were expected to have electronic verification systems in place by the end of 2011, but only 18 states had initiated the process. According to the report:
- 32 states said they lacked adequate resources -- including money, staff and time -- to create an electronic verification system; and
- 18 states said they had delayed implementation of their system because financial institutions were unwilling to cooperate.
The report's authors acknowledged that Medicaid long-term care costs deplete state resources. However, they wrote, "States must balance the costs of eligibility determination efforts with the need to ensure that those efforts provide sufficient information to implement federal requirements" (Governing, 8/28).