Another significant implementation cost of ELE was staff training. Figure III.2 shows that the estimated number of staff training hours ranged from 55 in Maryland to 700 in Louisiana. These totals were driven by both the length of training and the number of staff involved. In New Jersey, only a select team of 15 contractor staff were trained to handle ELE applications, while for Iowa Medicaid’s ELE program, all Income Maintenance Workers (650) were trained. Iowa Medicaid’s training session lasted only 20 minutes, while New Jersey’s lasted half a day.
In addition to these meetings, all states produced training materials such as “frequently asked questions” and updated staff manuals, or offered telephone or email “hotlines” for ELE questions. New Jersey’s ELE implementation also involved a significant outreach effort to inform volunteer income tax assistance preparers and tax preparation companies such as H&R Block and Turbo Tax about correctly answering the ELE question on tax returns. This effort was initiated in ELE’s second year after the state learned that many tax preparers incorrectly answered the insurance status question on behalf of their clients in ELE’s first year.
Figure III.2. Time Invested in Training at Implementation, by ELE Program
Source: Interviews and follow-up correspondence with state staff between January and June 2012.
Notes: Maryland’s staff time shown here is that of the Medicaid agency; we believe the partner agency’s staff training time would have been little or none, but could not verify this with the partner agency. Time shown here for other states includes Medicaid and/or CHIP agency staff time, and ELE partner agency time, as appropriate. The time spent on New Jersey’s tax preparer outreach effort is not included in Figure III.2. In addition to what is shown here, an unknown number of low-income tax preparers received about 15 minutes of training per person. Tax-preparation companies primarily received guidance through an update to the state’s tax-preparation guidance booklet.
CHIP = Children’s Health Insurance Program; ELE = Express Lane Eligibility.