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Front Page Focus: The Future of EBT

Chaddsford Planning Associates once again chaired the Front Page Focus plenary session at the EBT Next Generation conference in Orlando.  The topic focused on the future of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) now that, 35 years after the first EBT demonstration project in Pennsylvania, all SNAP beneficiaries and nearly all participants in the WIC supplemental nutrition program receive their benefits via an EBT card.  Where do we go next?

Front Page Focus took a holistic look at EBT by discussing the addition of other government payments to the core state EBT platform. These partner programs might include managed healthcare, foster care payments, adoption services, and child support enforcement. Opening up the core EBT platform to such partner programs would make existing EBT programs more robust and more convenient for beneficiaries, who would be able to access multiple benefits from one source. Potential partners studied by the speakers included Medicaid, managed care organizations, healthcare providers as well as foster care agencies.

Participating in the session were Nancy Bucceri, Managing Partner of Chaddsford Planning Associates, who discussed the nexus between SNAP and managed care programs.  Also participating on the panel was Pat O’Donnell, Vice President of Payment Processing of YoungWilliams, and John Pfeuffer, Vice President of Business Development for Conduent State and Local Solutions, one of the largest EBT payment processors.

Bob Bucceri, General Partner of Chaddsford Planning Associates, arranged the session and served as moderator.  

The panel discussed the natural synergy between nutrition programs and healthcare payers seeking to manage chronic disease by addressing food insecurity that can put people at risk for hospitalization.  Combining foster care payments and SNAP on a single card can also reduce food insecurity and related health risks for children in the program. Speakers also looked at potential technical obstacles to adding foster care payments to an EBT card since they are currently dispensed on different card platforms. SNAP is dispensed via EBT cards and foster care by a debit card.

Mobile technology combined with enhanced data analytics can help fight fraud and system abuse.  While SNAP fraud accounts for only .9% of the total program expenditure, it jumped 61% from 2012 to 2016, costing taxpayers $592.7 million and bears watching.1

In addition to this lead-off discussion on the future of EBT, the conference featured sessions on USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, the client experience with EBT, technologies showcasing opportunities for mobile, challenges with cyber security and identity management, and data driven approaches to better serve participants.

Examining the future of EBT was a good way to kick off such a wide-ranging agenda that presented such a comprehensive picture of the current issues facing the EBT industry and opportunities for future growth. 

EBT-the Next Generation is a service of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, which  relies on the ATM Industry Association for assistance managing the conference.

Over 400 people registered to attend this year's conference. 

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