Bridging Gaps in Benefits Access: How Data Coordination Can Bolster Enrollment Across Programs
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) supports states across the country to leverage their existing data to identify and streamline access for families and individuals who are eligible for but not enrolled in public benefit programs. In 2020, about 9 million people were eligible but did not participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Similarly, in 2021, there were an estimated 7.3 million people eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid. BDT helps bridge this gap by matching enrollee lists of one benefit with another - for instance, SNAP and Medicaid - and identifying people receiving one benefit and who are likely eligible for but not yet receiving the other. Improving data coordination across SNAP and Medicaid programs has the potential to make enrollment easier and more efficient for both applicants and program administrators, while reducing the burden of navigating the eligibility processes for these benefits, and significantly improving health.
In 2022, BDT, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and in collaboration with the Center for Health Care Strategies, conducted a nationwide review of how SNAP and Medicaid programs within each state coordinate and share data. There were three key findings from the survey:
- Integration is not necessary for data sharing across programs – states without integrated SNAP and Medicaid systems share data at almost the same rate as those with integrated systems.
- States commonly share SNAP and Medicaid data with third parties; most often with Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and non-profits.
- Medicaid and SNAP data sharing occurs in states across the political spectrum, regardless of state size or region.
The map below shows that at least 90 percent of states reported Medicaid and SNAP agencies share data with at least one other benefit program, such as childcare subsidies, school meal programs, Medicare savings programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and others.
Check out our Data Sharing Playbook to guide data sharing and data-driven outreach efforts.
With this work, BDT and the Center for Health Care Strategies aim to improve access to services by providing actionable recommendations, tools, and technical assistance to individual state agencies navigating data-coordination issues. Throughout this two-year project, we will disseminate case studies, additional reports, and other announcements.