A new federal law that goes into effect July 1 will mandate that all people applying for Medicaid will be required to provide documents proving both U.S. citizenship and identity.  All current enrollees who apply for renewal after July 1 will also be required to submit this documentation.  These policy changes are being enacted to comply with the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006.

Since the specific guidelines for this provision were issued by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on June 9, 2006, LDH has worked intensely to revise policies, forms and procedures.

“In developing our plan for implementing this new requirement, Louisiana has built in the maximum flexibility allowed under federal law,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “However, we believe that these new federal guidelines will be a significant burden on over a million Medicaid enrollees in Louisiana who rely on us for health care coverage.”

The primary document that will be accepted to prove citizenship and identity is an original, not photocopied, U.S. Passport.  The Passport can be valid or expired and must be issued without limitations.  This is the only document for those born in the United States that verifies both citizenship and identity.

If a U.S. Passport is not available, citizenship can be proven by a secondary document such as a U.S. public birth record (or Louisiana Long Form or Short Form birth record, but not hospital souvenir birth certificate), final adoption papers showing U.S. place of birth, official military record showing U.S. place of birth, or proof of U.S. government employment.

“We are working to be ready to comply with this new federal law on July 1, but not without a major strain on our agency’s infrastructure,” said Cerise.  “In addition to the new paperwork requirements placed on both Medicaid recipients and our staff, our Vital Records staff will assume many additional requests for birth certificates at a time when their New Orleans-based operations are stretched thin due to the lingering effects of Katrina.”

If neither a Passport nor a secondary document such as a birth certificate is available, there are other options for proving citizenship.  A complete listing of these options is available at www.medicaid.dhh.louisiana.gov. Current enrollees and applicants are urged to call the Louisiana Medicaid toll-free hotline at 1-888-342-6207 if they have any questions about these new requirements.

Accepted documents to prove identity:

·       A valid or expired U.S. Passport;

·       A valid driver’s license or state ID card (with photo);

·       A school ID card (with photo);

·       Nursery or day care records (children under 16 only);

·       U.S. Military or draft card or military dependent ID card;

·       Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or American Indian Tribal document;

·       A U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card

“As long as Medicaid enrollees let us know that they are making a good faith effort to get this necessary documentation in to us, they will remain eligible for Medicaid.” said Medicaid Deputy Director Ruth Kennedy. “The important thing is that Medicaid enrollees contact our office.”

For more information on the Louisiana Medicaid Program, visit www.medicaid.dhh.louisiana.gov.