Georgia’s plan to expand Medicaid enrolls fewer than 2,000 so far

UPDATE: Hours after the AJC told Kemp’s office this story would report the apparent violation of the Open Records Act, the state Department of Community Health began providing the enrollment records requested under the law, and denied violating the law.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to offer Medicaid health coverage to 370,000 of Georgia’s poorest uninsured adults while requiring them to meet work or activity requirements has enrolled just 1,343 in the three months since it was opened, the state Department of Community Health reported Thursday morning.

Enrollment launched July 1. Kemp’s office recently forecasted that of 370,000 poor uninsured Georgians, 90,000 would ultimately fulfill the requirements for work or activities to qualify for the coverage. Kemp’s office has previously estimated that full enrollment would take about two years.

The state has not publicized a monthly enrollment goal. But if enrollment ramped up evenly to 90,000 over two years, about 11,250 would be expected to sign up over three months’ time.

Leah Chan, a researcher at the left-leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, also requested the records for research on the program. Groups like hers say they are diving into the data to figure out which populations appear to be hanging back and what steps might be done to increase enrollment.

She pointed out that time matters, because Georgia is currently in the process of disenrolling hundreds of Medicaid beneficiaries every week because of a national “redetermination” process to clean up the Medicaid rolls. Georgia Pathways might be an option for them, if advocates know how to find them and help them enroll.

“Some folks who are going to be losing Medicaid coverage could potentially transition to Pathways to Coverage,” Chan said. “But without good timely data … there’s no way to know what can we do to make sure that happens. What can we do to help people with that transition? So the timeliness of the data is critically important.”

Read the full article by the Atlanta Journal Constitution

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