September 12, 2018 – The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) filed comments supporting the recent TracFone emergency petition requesting alterations to the Lifeline National Verifier by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), administrator of the Lifeline Program.
TracFone Emergency Petition Requests FCC Delay USAC National Verifier Launch
The emergency petition from TracFone urges the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay USAC from further implementation of the National Verifier.
TracFone has concerns that the National Verifier, which has already launched in six states, is not integrated to all of the necessary state databases that would allow it to effectively function in determining Lifeline eligibility.
The petition requests that USAC ensure, prior to launching the National Verifier in additional states, that the National Verifier access key databases (particularly the Medicaid Enrollment Databases) and also accept eligibility proof from select third parties.
TracFone reports that the requested alterations will improve the efficiency of the automated and manual eligibility processes, which ultimately support the National Verifier.
NaLA Files Comments Supporting TracFone Emergency Petition to Delay Lifeline National Verifier
NaLA recently filed comments echoing the TracFone petition concerns regarding the launch of the National Verifier.
While the support for the National Verifier has been consistently unanimous, the success of the National Verifier in confirming subscriber eligibility is based on participation in qualifying federal programs, particularly the Medicaid enrollment database.
Medicaid participants account for 29 percent of Lifeline enrollments and the USAC’s launch strategy has resulted in leaving some of the subscribers who need Lifeline the most — especially those enrolled in Medicaid and dependent on Lifeline services — at risk for losing phone service, not just to connect to society but also to manage their care” – National Lifeline Association
USAC also refused to accept evidence of eligibility for the manual verification process through third-party sources such as Managed Care Organization (MCO). USAC not allowing proof of eligibility through MCO will interfere with the efforts to enroll eligible subscribers in the Lifeline program.
To provide an enrollment process that better serves eligible consumers, NaLA suggests, “directing USAC to accept proof of eligibility from MCOs […] will make the National Verifier more efficient and effective for USAC, consumers and service providers.”