News & Updates

Top Five Strategies to Facilitate Enrollment During COVID-19

June 17, 2020

Top Five Strategies to Facilitate Enrollment During COVID-19

Additional Opportunities for States Identified

Washington, DC – The new IMI report found that the most common strategies deployed by states to facilitate Medicaid enrollment during COVID-19 include: creating a dedicated phone number for enrollment assistance (100%), having the ability to enroll individuals online or over the phone (100%), providing a phone number for assistance on state Medicaid websites (92%), using real-time eligibility determinations (92%), and not requiring in-person or over the phone interviews (82%).

As the rate of unemployment due to COVID-19 has risen above 30 million individuals, Medicaid has emerged as a critical safety net for those directly facing the impact of the pandemic and losing their source of health insurance coverage. A variety of barriers may affect the enrollment of individuals applying for Medicaid during this time, due to the closure of physical offices processing applications, the limited capacity of state agencies to staff phone lines, and weak technological infrastructure, resulting in the sudden, high volume of applicants overwhelming the application process.

The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI), a non-profit, nonpartisan research and policy organization, has published a Health Affairs blog post and complementary report identifying 23 strategies states have used to facilitate timely enrollment for those who are newly eligible due to the pandemic. Authors Rebecca Landucci, MPH (IMI), Jennifer E. Moore, PhD, RN, FAAN (IMI), Clare Brown, PhD, MPH (IMI and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), Caroline Adams, BS (IMI), Nicole Truhe, MPA (Unitedhealthcare Community & State), and Mark Larson (Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.) provide an in-depth assessment of each state’s current enrollment strategies and actions taken to address COVID-19.

 In the report, the Institute found that variation in utilization of strategies to address these obstacles to enrollment exists across Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states. States without expanded Medicaid coverage were less likely to deploy strategies like expanding coverage for testing and testing related services, accepting self-attestation of information for criteria besides citizenship/immigration, and adopting a simplified application with less items on the form.

To help support states’ efforts to address obstacles in Medicaid enrollment during COVID-19, IMI has identified additional strategies for states to consider implementing to enhance current efforts. These include increasing the number of presumptive eligibility entities, utilizing the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, and minimizing documentation requirements for eligibility.

Read the Health Affairs blog post here and download the full IMI report here.


About the Institute for Medicaid Innovation

The Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization that provides independent, nonpartisan information and analysis to inform Medicaid policy and improve the health of the nation.


Media Contact

Lydia Tonkonow