Using Behavioral Economics to Inform the Integration of Human Services and Health Programs under the Affordable Care Act . 3. Presenting SNAP enrollment opportunities when health coverage is being renewed

07/21/2014

A third approach would raise the SNAP issue as Medicaid or Marketplace subsidy eligibility is being renewed. At this point, consumers are likely to experience much less cognitive and choice overload than during the initial coverage application. At renewal, fewer consumers will be examining the full range of health plan choices.82 Further, analysis of eligibility for insurance affordability programs will be limited to factors most likely to change over time—income and household size—without the need to verify personal identity, to demonstrate citizenship or lawful immigration status, to prove state residence (a requirement for Medicaid eligibility), etc.83

With cognitive overload less likely at renewal, consumers’ interest in or capacity for starting an on-line SNAP application and their willingness to allow the SNAP agency to contact them could be greater than at the initial application. Policymakers could thus consider changing the order or structure in which SNAP options are presented to consumers. For example, rather than first being presented with the easiest possible avenue towards SNAP, consumers could be told that it appears they may qualify for help paying for food and asked if they would rather apply for SNAP themselves or have the state food agency contact them.

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