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Express Lane Eligibility Efforts: Lessons Learned from Early State Cross-Program Enrollment Initiatives

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) provides states new options to reach and enroll eligible but uninsured low-income children into Medicaid and CHIP. The law’s Express Lane Eligibility (ELE) provisions enable state Medicaid and CHIP agencies to identify, enroll and recertify children by relying on eligibility findings from other programs, such as Head Start or Food Stamps, rather than having to re-analyze eligibility under their own rules. Further, CHIPRA authorizes greater use of electronic means to demonstrate eligibility.

This brief is the first in a new series called Putting Children on the Express Lane to Health Insurance that will provide information on key issues related to implementing Express Lane Eligibility. It discusses lessons states can draw on from the experience of earlier cross-program enrollment efforts as they consider the ELE option and design ELE programs. Those efforts demonstrate the importance of creating a one-step process for families, utilizing state-initiated and ex parte methods that place minimal burdens on families to collect information, utilizing and expanding the role of technology to share information across programs and establishing cross-agency support.

Issue Brief (.pdf)