La. begins enrolling 375k people into Medicaid, first state to expand registry through food stamp collections information

Enrollment for Louisiana's expanded Medicaid program kicks off Wednesday and the state will use information collected from food stamps recipients to add thousands of people to its Medicaid rolls, according to The New Orleans Advocate.

Louisiana is the 31st state in the U.S. to expand Medicaid, but it is the first state to receive approval from the federal government to tie eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps.

The state expects to cover 375,000 additional Louisiana residents through Medicaid under the expansion. Adults who make below 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $33,500 for a family of four or $16,200 for a single adult — are eligible for Medicaid coverage. That is the same level as most recipients of food stamps in the state, according to the report. Now, when people enroll for food stamp benefits, their information will also be assessed for Medicaid eligibility and automatic enrollment.

"Surprisingly, no other state has done this," said Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee, MD, according to the report. "We're trying to be efficient in how we use state employees and state resources."

State leaders say they view tying the two programs together as an effective way to quickly bolster the Medicaid program. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of uninsured adults, according to the report. 

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