January 2016 marks the end of the second full year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) key coverage provisions. This 14th annual 50-state survey of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, enrollment, renewal, and cost-sharing policies provides a point-in-time snapshot of policies as of January 2016 and identifies changes in policies that occurred during 2015. Coverage is driven by two key elements—eligibility levels determine who may qualify for coverage, and enrollment and renewal processes influence the extent to which eligible individuals are enrolled and remain enrolled over time. This report provides a detailed overview of current state policies in these areas, which have undergone significant change as a result of the ACA.
Together, the findings show that, during 2015, states continued to implement the major technological upgrades and streamlined enrollment and renewal processes triggered by the ACA. These changes are helping to connect eligible individuals to Medicaid coverage more quickly and easily and to keep eligible people enrolled as well as contributing to increased administrative efficiencies. However, implementation varies across states, and lingering challenges remain. The findings illustrate that the program continues to be a central source of coverage for low-income children and pregnant women nationwide and show the growth in Medicaid’s role for low-income adults through the ACA Medicaid expansion.