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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about differences in obtaining health insurance from state to state, stimulus payments, the rise of telehealth, and government technologies crumbling under high citizen demand for services.  

1. Health coverage for unemployed harder to come by in some states

Experts say guaranteeing individuals can obtain health insurance will save lives and help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, millions have lost their employee-based insurance along with their jobs. Pew Charitable Trusts reports some states have more options than others do when it comes to obtaining new coverage. Options depend on the reopening of health insurance exchanges, if the state has expanded Medicaid, or relaxed administrative enrollment requirements for Medicaid and/or CHIP. All states are expecting an enrollment surge in both Medicaid and the subsidized insurance marketplaces. 

2. Behind on child support? If so, you won’t get a stimulus check 

Millions of Americans are receiving stimulus checks from the federal government this week. As USA Today reports, parents (or their spouses) who are late on child support payments will not be in that number. Garnishment will not occur for late student loan payments or tax debts, but stimulus checks will be reduced by the total owed in child support. 

3. Use of VA’s telehealth, virtual mental health services skyrocket

According to NextGov, the Veterans Affairs Department has been able to continue to provide same-day mental health services and screenings by embracing technology. In March, the VA handled four times as many mental health consultations by phone, doubled telehealth group therapy sessions, and increased virtual counseling sessions by 200%.

4. How data governments already have can guide the pandemic response 

Administrative data governments already have could provide critical insight into how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting demand for services, assist in alerting citizens to potential eligibility, and facilitate benefit enrollment. According to Governing, integrated data systems will make it easier to gain big-picture situational awareness, target individuals most likely to qualify for assistance, and streamline the benefit application process.

5. Legacy systems crumble under high demand 

Unemployment continues to rise and states are struggling to keep their unemployment application systems functioning. FCW reports that many states have opted to build on top of legacy codebases over the years, rather than replace them, and have outsourced maintenance and development. Now some states are putting out calls for individuals familiar with 40-year old programming languages. The Small Business Administration is also working to improve their website and loan processing system, after an influx of applicants for emergency loans.