Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2014, what happens to existing groups like section 1931 and Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA)?
Coverage under section 1931 of the Act was not repealed with the ACA and will remain in effect in 2014. As noted in the table above, eligibility for parents and caretaker relatives under section 1931 is implemented at section 435.110 of the regulations; eligibility for pregnant women under section 1931 is implemented at section 435.116 and eligibility for children at section 435.118. TMA under section 1925 of the Act will sunset on December 31, 2012, unless extended by Congress. If Congress elects to extend section 1925 of the Act beyond December 31, 2013, States will need to provide TMA to eligible individuals as set forth in their approved State plans. Note that the 4-month extension for individuals losing eligibility under section 1931 of the Act due to increased earnings or hours of work (see sections 1902(e)(1)(A) and 1931(c)(2) of the Act), and the 4-month extension of eligibility for individuals losing eligibility due to increased spousal support (see section 1931(c)(1) of the Act) do not have a sunset date and would therefore still apply in 2014 unless repealed by Congress. The extension of eligibility for individuals losing coverage under section 1931 due to increased child support will no longer be relevant in 2014, as child support is not counted as income under MAGI-based methodologies.
In 2014, will the eligibility groups for people with breast and cervical cancer and disabled workers continue to exist?
Yes, the breast and cervical cancer group and the eligibility group for working disabled individuals will remain optional eligibility groups which States may elect. The Affordable Care Act did not alter the financial or non-financial requirements or methodologies used to determine eligibility for these groups, both of which are exempt from the application of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) methodology for determining income.
In situations where an Exchange makes Medicaid eligibility assessments rather than full determinations, will the determination be able to happen in real-time?
The goal is to have a seamless experience for consumers, with eligibility determinations made as quickly as possible regardless of which approach to eligibility determinations is in effect in a particular State. CMS will be establishing, in collaboration with States and with an opportunity for public input, data reporting measures that will allow States, CMS and the public to have information about the enrollment process including the timing of eligibility determinations under different design approaches.
In the case where the Exchange is conducting an eligibility assessment and then transferring the applicant's information to the State Medicaid or CHIP agency to complete the eligibility determination, what standards will the Exchange use to make the assessment for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility?
The Exchange will utilize the State's Medicaid and CHIP eligibility rules for conducting both eligibility determinations and eligibility assessments. This will include application of the State's MAGI income standards and related eligibility rules for the MAGI population. The Exchange will also rely on a robust verification protocol that is consistent with Medicaid and CHIP regulations but which might not be the same protocol the State is otherwise using.
If a State accepts assessments of eligibility from the Federally-Facilitated Exchange (FFE) and chooses to make the final eligibility determinations itself, once an individual has been assessed as Medicaid/CHIP eligible, their electronic account would be transferred to the State Medicaid or CHIP agency, which will complete the eligibility determination. This process will include any additional verification required by the State that is consistent with the Federal verification regulations.
Is CMS planning to draft a standard agreement for State Medicaid and CHIP agencies to use with the State-based Exchange?
Yes. CMS is working with States to develop a model agreement, and it is one of the tools that the Coverage Expansion Learning Collaborative will be considering.
Is there a potential conflict with the Medicaid requirement to process an application within 45 days and the Exchange rule that allows applicants 90 days to respond to requests to resolve information that is not reasonably compatible?
The requirements are different, but they are not in conflict. The 45-day limit for Medicaid is the outer boundary limit by which a State must determine Medicaid eligibility for all individuals who apply on a basis other than disability, and as discussed above, we expect much quicker determinations in most cases. The Medicaid program provides a reasonable opportunity period for individuals whose citizenship or immigration status cannot be verified. Medicaid provides benefits for individuals during their reasonable opportunity period, who are otherwise eligible for Medicaid. The Exchange rule provides for a 90-day reasonable opportunity period for all factors of eligibility. The Exchange determines eligibility without delay and then provides a 90-day reasonable opportunity period for the applicant to provide any additional required information.
What are the eligibility factors for which States can/cannot accept self-attestation?
Self-attestation is permitted for all factors of eligibility, except as required by law (i.e. citizenship and immigration status). States must accept self-attestation of pregnancy, unless information provided is not reasonably compatible with other information in the State's files.
What does it mean for an individual to withdraw their Medicaid application in order to receive a determination of eligibility for Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTCs)?
In a State where the Exchange makes Medicaid and CHIP eligibility assessments, but not eligibility determinations, there are certain requirements that the Exchange must follow (found at 42 CFR 155.302(b)) in order to ensure a smooth transition between programs. When an eligibility assessment reveals that an applicant is potentially eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, the Exchange must transmit the individual's electronic account to the Medicaid or CHIP agency for completion of the eligibility determination.
However, when an eligibility assessment reveals that an applicant does not appear to be Medicaid or CHIP-eligible, the Exchange does not have the authority to deny Medicaid/CHIP eligibility (because that is not the arrangement in that State). The Exchange has the responsibility to notify applicants that they do not appear to be Medicaid/CHIP-eligible and provide them with the opportunity to either seek a formal Medicaid eligibility determination (which would delay the eligibility determination for an APTC), or to withdraw their application for Medicaid/CHIP and receive a determination for an APTC and a cost-sharing reduction (section 155.305(b)(4)). We will address in further guidance how the withdrawal will be addressed in the case of an appeal of an APTC decision.
What happens with the medically needy group in 2014 and what are the policy options to continue covering this group? Is that group newly eligible with 100% federal match?
States may continue to provide coverage to medically needy individuals in 2014, and indeed are required to offer such coverage with respect to children until the maintenance of effort requirement provision in section 1902(gg) of the Act expires. States have the option to discontinue coverage under medically needy groups for adults (e.g., disabled individuals with income above the standard for categorical eligibility) in 2014, subject to section 1902(gg). In States that continue to cover existing medically needy adult groups, adults who meet the categorical eligibility and resource requirements will have the ability to spend down to the medically needy income standard and receive the benefits covered for medically needy individuals in the State, or to enroll in the adult group (provided they meet the eligibility requirements for that group, including being under 65 and not eligible for Medicare).
What information will be included in the required verification plan? Will CMS provide a model verification plan that can be used by States? Will the verification plan be part of a State's Medicaid State Plan? Will CMS review each State's verification plan?
The final rule specifies that Medicaid and CHIP agencies will establish their verification policies and procedures in a verification plan. This plan is not a required element of the Medicaid State plan but States suggested, and CMS agrees, that it will be helpful to have the each State's eligibility verification process established in a written plan. The verification plans will serve many purposes, including ensuring PERM reviews are mindful of the State's verification policies and also for promoting coordination with the Exchange. States' verification plans will be public and available upon request, but we are not establishing a Federal approval process. State verification policies must of course always be consistent with applicable Federal at section 435.940 - 435.956 of the eligibility final rule.
The verification plans will include information about the data sources the State will use to verify applicant information, define reasonable compatibility standards, and determine when self attestation will be accepted. CMS will provide a verification plan template for States to use.