Promoting Medicaid and Food Stamp Participation

LaDonna Pavetti, Kathleen Maloy, and Liz Schott

June 2002

This study, 'Promoting Medicaid and Food Stamp Participation: Establishing Eligibility Procedures That Support Participation and Meet Families' Needs',  conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify strategies states and local welfare offices are using to promote participation in food stamps, Medicaid, and SCHIP, and the ongoing challenges they face in providing support to working families. The experiences of the study sites suggest the need for diverse strategies to increase participation in programs that support working families. These strategies focus on three different themes: (1) awareness, (2) simplification, and (3) reduction of risk points. Recommendations and next steps: expand efforts to provide families with opportunities to apply for and renew benefits outside of the welfare office and evaluate the relative effectiveness of alternative strategies; continue to encourage states to take advantage of the flexibility they have to simplify application and renewal requirements and identify key program requirements that make simplification difficult; explore options for aligning eligibility requirements and application procedures for Medicaid and food stamps; explore options, including providing increased funding, to help states maximize their use of technology to increase enrollment and promote retention in food stamps, Medicaid and SCHIP; encourage states to set enrollment goals for food stamps, Medicaid and SCHIP and reward them for their accomplishments.

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