KCUR News
12:22 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

KHPA Slowly Clears Away Medicaid Application Backlog

Topkea, KS – The Kansas Health Policy Authority is continuing to chip away at a backlog of applications for the Medicaid program.

Last month there were more than 17,000 applications that had been waiting at least 45 days. That's down by about 2,000 applications from the month before.

Overall, however, the system is still pretty jammed. New and old applications combined, the backlog reached a peak of about 33,000 in October.

Barb Langner is director of the Medicaid program in Kansas. She says state funding cuts meant they didn't have enough staff to process the documents. She says the delay can have a negative impact on people trying to get health coverage.

"When you don't have health insurance, you tend to put things off," says Langner. "And you know, this is not a goal we have for the program. It's to get people into the insurance program they're eligible for as quickly as possible."

The backlog affects pregnant women, children and their parents who are eligible for government-subsidized health care.

In August, the federal government provided more than one million dollars that's being used to eliminate the backlog, adding about 16 additional staff members to process applications.

KHPA estimates they'll be caught up on applications by March, 2011.