KHI News Service

State launches Medicaid, HealthWave application portal

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | September 07, 2012

Medicaid customer portal upon launch in 2012.

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State officials today unveiled an online portal designed to help low-income Kansans apply for Medicaid and HealthWave.

"While we still have the paper application method available, Kansans can now apply for medical assistance online in a paperless system that will greatly streamline this process," Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Robert Moser said in a prepared statement.

"Processing times will be faster, which benefits both the consumer and the taxpayer," he said.

The online portal also is meant to let applicants know if they’re likely eligible for Medicaid or HealthWave.

HealthWave is the state’s health insurance program for children in low- and modest-income families.

The Customer Self-Service Portal marks the first phase of the of a multi-year initiative — called Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System, or KEES — aimed at streamlining the process for applying for public assistance.

Plans call for expanding the portal to include applications for child care, cash assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as Food Stamps.

The child care, cash assistance and SNAP benefits are administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

"I look forward to the full implementation of KEES, when the electronic portal will be incorporated into DCF services," said DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore. "The system is designed to identify fraud, prevent duplication and reduce errors as Kansans apply for government assistance."

Anna Lambertson, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition, welcomed the portal’s availability.

“This is a very positive step in the right direction,” Lambertson said. “I have to say that after KHPA (Kansas Health Policy Authority) went away and after the HealthWave website went away, you had to go to the KDHE website and clink through several links to get to where you could find the Health Wave applcaition. And then you had to print it out and fax it in or mail it in. It was an onerous process for people to get through," she said. “So, absolutely, we’re in favor of making the application more accessible.”

Lawmakers dissolved the quasi-independent health policy authority last year, merging the agency with KDHE.

The health policy authority managed the state’s Medicaid and HealthWave program between 2006 and 2011.

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