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Preparation Underway for Implementation of ACA in 2014

TUESDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nears, states are preparing for some of its provisions, including expanded access to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the use of information technology, according to a report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Martha Heberlein, from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a 50-state survey of the eligibility, enrollment, renewal, and cost-sharing policies in Medicaid and CHIP, identifying changes made in 2012 and policies in place as of Jan. 1, 2013.

According to the report, in 2012, the role of Medicaid and CHIP were strengthened as primary sources of coverage for low-income children and pregnant women. Adult eligibility was still lower than that of children, but state eligibility levels were maintained and enrollment and renewal procedures remained in place according to ACA requirements. Growth in Medicaid enrollment was curbed by economic improvement, while fiscal constraints led to an increase in cost-sharing in some states and decreased coverage in a few states. Many states have already started implementing technology to reengineer processes and enhance systems, which will need to be implemented in 2014.

"The ACA's Medicaid expansion and requirements for a modern, simplified enrollment experience build on states' accomplishments in covering children and accelerate the adoption of proven strategies," the authors write. "As states face a shrinking timeline to prepare for 2014, much work remains to be done and it will be important for states to leverage the experience of those leading the way."

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