SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services has employees manually processing applications for about 24,000 Utahns seeking health care benefits.
Utahns who accessed the federal health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov between its launch on Oct. 1 and the end of December have been “stuck in limbo for a while” awaiting a decision on their Medicaid eligibility, said Nic Dunn, Utah Department of Workforce Services spokesman.
It is estimated that 24,000 people went to the website, filled out an application and were told they were potentially eligible for Medicaid benefits.
“But their applications were never sent to us because the federal exchange wasn’t set up yet to fully talk to our system,” Dunn said.
Utah was given an Oct. 1 deadline to have its computer systems ready to work with the federal system, he said. Ideally, Utahns can apply on healthcare.gov and learn if they may be eligible for Medicaid.
If they are potentially eligible, the application will be sent to Utah’s system, where it will be processed, Dunn said. A customer also could apply on the Utah Department of Workforce Services website, and if they aren’t eligible for Medicaid, that application could be sent to healthcare.gov to determine what other options are available.
“We had everything in place to be ready to meet that Oct. 1 deadline, but we were essentially waiting on the federal exchange to get its pieces in order to be able to meet that deadline and it didn’t happen just because of delays the federal exchange was facing,” Dunn said.
A number of Utahns went to healthcare.gov and were told they might be eligible for Medicaid, but because of the system error, the applications didn’t make it to Utah’s system for processing.
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