BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has launched its new Medicaid enrollment technology, which is expected to help combat fraud and abuse of the oft-debated program.
Because LDH required Medicaid recipients to self-report income changes, recipients who received a raise or got a new job could continue receiving Medicaid coverage until they notified the state or attempted to renew their coverage, which must be done every 12 months.
The new system syncs information across state agencies, which will help computers automatically determine eligibility and check for changes on a more frequent basis.
Louisiana spent between $60 and $85 million providing Medicaid coverage to recipients who were ineligible for the program because they made too much money since the program’s expansion in 2016, according to a report from the legislative auditor.
“The new system will allow us to make sure the people who need Medicaid, get Medicaid,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee. “The people who don’t qualify can get it through the insurance exchange or their employer.”
Hypothetically, under the old system, an unemployed, single person could have applied for Medicaid in January, taken a well-paying job in February, chosen not to notify LDH, and continued on Medicaid insurance until they had to report income to renew in January of the following year.
The new technology also improves the application process on LDH’s end by upgrading severely outdated technology. Now, enrollment workers do not have to sift through paperwork from a handful of agencies on MS DOS operating software.
“The old one was like using a Sony walkman. It was incredibly difficult,” Gee said. “This new system is world class and the best in the country.”
Gee says the upgrade could make it easier for people to get insurance because they would know immediately whether they qualify for coverage.
LDH expects to expand the database of information to include federal tax information next year, adding another layer of protection against fraud.