Supporting Families in Transition: A Guide to Expanding Health Coverage in the Post-Welfare Reform World. Medicaid Funds

07/08/2004

Medicaid law does not limit the amount of money a state can spend on outreach efforts to enroll people in Medicaid. The Federal government will match such spending dollar for dollar. In addition, a special $500 million Medicaid fund was created under the welfare reform law to help states with the additional administrative costs of eligibility determinations resulting from the delinkage of Medicaid from welfare eligibility and the establishment of Section 1931. These funds are available for matching certain allowable administrative expenditures incurred by states during the first three years in which the states' TANF programs are in effect. State spending is matched by the Federal government at either a 90 percent or a 75 percent rate. (For more details, see the notice published in the Federal Register on May 14, 1997, Vol. 62, No. 93, pages 26545-26550.)

Each state has an allocation from the $500 million fund from which it can claim matching funds. Each state's allocation is composed of a "base allocation" and a "secondary allocation." The base allocation for each state is $2 million; the secondary allocation varies by state based on state-specific factors. Federal matching funds are available from the base allocation at the enhanced matching rate of 90 percent for allowable administrative activities (including outreach), regardless of the type of activity. Federal matching funds are available from the secondary allocation at enhanced matching rates of either 90 percent or 75 percent, depending on the type of activity. Activities whose costs are claimable from the secondary allocation at the enhanced rate of 90 percent include: educational activities, public service announcements, outstationing of eligibility workers, training, outreach, developing and disseminating new publications, and local community activities. Activities whose costs are claimable from the secondary allocation at the enhanced rate of 75 percent include: hiring new eligibility workers, designing new eligibility forms, identifying at-risk TANF recipients, intergovernmental activities, and eligibility systems changes.

In order to be allowable, activities must be attributable to administrative costs of eligibility determinations that are incurred due to the enactment of Section 1931. However, it is clear that outreach efforts conducted by states to implement the provisions of Section 1931 may also result in Medicaid eligibility determination activities for individuals covered under other groups. It is neither administratively efficient nor practical, with respect to claims for Section 1931 outreach activities, to distinguish between activities resulting in eligibility determination under Section 1931 and activities related to Medicaid eligibility under other statutory authorities. Therefore, so long as the outreach activities are designed principally to address the eligibility determinations related to Section 1931, states may claim the costs of such activities at the enhanced Federal matching rate.

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