For the first time Georgians can enroll for Medicaid benefits on the web.
The new feature went online at the beginning of the month and is part of President Obama’s health reform law.
“The federal reform law required it to be running October 1. Ours is up and running,” said Department of Community Health Commissioner Clyde Reese. “You can apply online now and my understanding is that’s going well.”
Medicaid is the joint federal-state program that provides low-income people with health coverage.
The upgraded state website, which took roughly 18 months to complete, is different than the federal insurance exchange – the website that's been in the news lately for technical glitches.
Linda Lowe, a former health policy planner and current lobbyist, says the upgraded state website should help those currently eligible for Medicaid sign up for coverage and not easily fall off the rolls.
“There are somewhere around 159,000 adults in Georgia who could be covered now and who aren’t and we’ve got lots of people who are falling off who really are eligible but because of all the difficulties with paperwork they lose their eligibility for periods of time.”
The state website can be found at compass.ga.gov. In addition to Medicaid, the website can be used to enroll for food stamps (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Child Care and Parent Services (CAPS). State officials say adding Medicaid enrollment is just the first phase of creating a more integrated website for state-administered public assistance programs.