Federal Government Urges Kansas to Address Medicaid Backlog


Kansas Medicare applicants have been waiting for months to have their applications processed. Citizens are spending up to an hour and a half on the phone waiting for the Kansas Medicaid program, KanCare, to answer questions about the application process. After months of a growing backlog of applications, the Federal government has now requested that Kansas explain to the public the steps that it is taking to handle the Medicaid application holdup.

Salina Post discusses this matter further.

In a response dated March 4, KDHE Secretary Susan Mosier said [KanCare] has added 20 full-time staff members to process applications and 19 more for the call center, in addition to implementing other reforms.

The state’s response also shows that the number of unprocessed applications ballooned from about 10,000 at the end of January to 18,216 by mid-February. Precisely 7,745 of those had been pending for more than 45 days, which is the most allowed under CMS rules unless the applicant needs a disability determination.

The call center is being run by a state contractor, Maximus, which reported average hold times of about 20 minutes for the month of February. However, some callers were kept on hold for almost an hour and a half.

Mosier’s letter says the backlog resulted from a rush of 13,000 Medicaid applications during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment, which ran from November through January.

The letter does not mention a computer system switch last summer that state officials have previously said contributed to the backlog.

Gov. Sam Brownback, in his budgets for the current fiscal year and the next, has banked a total of $10 million in Medicaid savings because of lagging enrollment since the implementation of the Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System, or KEES.

Scott’s letter asks state officials to set a date for eliminating the backlog but Mosier didn’t specify one in her response

Nursing homes are troubled by this backlog, since it means that many who rely on Medicaid are strapped with up to $1 million in unpaid bills.

Photo by Christian Schnettelker via Flickr CC License

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