- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s Human Services Department chief told lawmakers Monday that the state expects to get an analysis of its Medicaid program in May that should help with development of a computer-based program to reduce a backlog of applicants.

Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly said at an Assembly budget hearing that the KPMG report, at a cost of $850,000, will be used by Xerox to develop the new process.

The state ended a $118 million contract with Hewlett-Packard last year over missed deadlines and took a $15 million loss on the contract, Connolly said.

Two years ago, the state expanded the Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Since then, some 400,000 residents have become insured through NJ FamilyCare, but another 7,000 people are on waiting lists.

“These newly eligible NJ FamilyCare members now have access to primary and preventive care,” Connolly said. “The cost of covering the expansion population is 100 percent federally funded through fiscal year 2016.”

Unlike other states, New Jersey’s Medicaid enrollment is managed through the counties, where residents apply for benefits. Connolly said the department is working with local governments to ease the backlog.

Gov. Chris Christie, who is considering a 2016 run for the White House, has said the Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security programs should be overhauled. As he envisions it, Medicaid would become a block grant program, with money going directly to states. Recipients living above the poverty line would have to pay co-pays for doctor and hospital visits.

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