August 10 Update

 

In This Week’s Update:

  • Considerations for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies As they Prepare to Unwind Eligibility and Enrollment Flexibilities Obtained During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
  • COVID-19 State Updates: AZ, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, TX & VA
  • Other State Updates: CA, ME, MI, MO & NH
  • Emergency Special Enrollment Period Would Boost Health Coverage Access at a Critical Time
  • Introducing the Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit
  • COVID-19: A Catalyst for Integrating Youth Behavioral Health Care Across Settings

 

Considerations for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies As they Prepare to Unwind Eligibility and Enrollment Flexibilities Obtained During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Last week, SHVS published an expert perspective on Considerations for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies As they Prepare to Unwind Eligibility and Enrollment Flexibilities Obtained During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Absent a further extension of the public health emergency (PHE), states have three months to implement a plan for unwinding the FCCRA continuous coverage requirements which are otherwise set to terminate on October 31, 2020. States will also need to identify which newly obtained eligibility and enrollment flexibilities they would like to make permanent beyond the termination of the PHE–especially in the context of emerging information that suggests that the duration of COVID-19 pandemic may extend well into 2021. 

 

COVID-19 State Updates

  • Arizona – The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System received approval from FEMA for an additional $325,296 in federal grant funds to provide crisis services related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Crisis counseling services will continue through the funding extension of August 28, 2020.
  • Maine – The Department of Health and Human Services is asking providers to complete a survey on the impact of a special supplemental payment for targeted community-based behavioral health services. The goal of the special payments were to support providers’ efforts to re-engage MaineCare members in services and to cover COVID-19-related costs.
  • Michigan – Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order requiring COVID-19 testing for agricultural and food processing employees. Employers and housing operators must complete a plan by August 10 for how they will conduct testing in compliance with the order. Completion of baseline testing and implementation of ongoing testing is required no later than August 24. We have updated our expert perspective on how states are working to protect farmworkers to include this example.
  • North Carolina
    • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced its selection of seven vendors to hire and manage over 250 Community Health Workers, who will be deployed in 50 targeted counties to connect North Carolinians affected by COVID-19 with needed services and support.
    • DHHS released a Request for Applications for regional partner organizations to administer an innovative new program to support individuals in targeted counties who need supports like food and transportation to successfully quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.
  • Texas – Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is extending flexibilities to Medicaid and CHIP recipients and providers through October 23, 2020, as the state continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These flexibilities will minimize face-to-face interactions and ensure continuity of care for clients during the COVID-19 response.
  • Virginia – The state launched coronavirus exposure notification app COVIDWISE Wednesday, making it the first state to offer Apple and Google’s contact tracing technology to the public. The free app aims to notify people when they’ve been near someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia – The governors of seven states announced a bipartisan interstate compact with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen tests. The states are in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel—the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that have already been authorized by the FDA—to purchase 500,000 tests per state, for a total of 3.5 million tests.

 

Other State Updates

  • California – Covered California, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced the preliminary average rate change for California’s individual market will be 0.6 percent in 2021, a record low for the second consecutive year.
  • Maine – The state submitted its application or “Blueprint” to become a State-Based Marketplace on July 31, 2020. With federal approval, the state will first begin operating as a State-Based Marketplace on the Federal Platform, effective for the Marketplace’s open enrollment period starting on November 1, 2020. 
  • Michigan – MDHHS is launching the We Treat Hep C Initiative to take steps towards eliminating hepatitis C in Michigan. The initiative is designed to bring down the cost of hepatitis C medication for Medicaid and the Michigan Department of Corrections. In the coming weeks MDHHS will announce a Request for Proposals for drug manufacturers to provide a significant discount to these programs. 
  • Missouri – Voters approved a ballot measure amending the state’s constitution to expand Medicaid. The measure requires the state to expand by July 2021 and it is estimated that 230,000 individuals will be eligible under the expansion.
  • New Hampshire – CMS officially approved the state’s Section 1332 waiver for a reinsurance program. Our map has been updated to reflect this development.  

 

Emergency Special Enrollment Period Would Boost Health Coverage Access at a Critical Time

The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities published an issue brief that used SEP enrollment data from state-based marketplaces (SBMs) to show that an emergency SEP in HealthCare.gov states would likely be helpful in expanding access to coverage for people during the economic downturn. Most SBMs quickly implemented time-limited emergency SEPs in response to the public health crisis. Six of these states (including D.C.) saw enrollment surge far beyond the federal marketplace’s 27 percent increase. In Connecticut, SEP enrollments increased 97 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared to 2019. In Rhode Island they increased 92 percent, and in California 79 percent. The authors note that SEP growth in these state-run marketplaces is a sign that an emergency SEP could help expand enrollment in HealthCare.gov states as well.

 

Introducing the Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit

On August 19, the Rural Health Information Hub and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis is hosting a webinar to present the Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit, a tool designed to support organizations implementing programs to address social determinants of health in rural communities. The webinar will provide an overview of social determinants of health and identify strategies to overcome challenges specific to rural communities. It will discuss evidence-based and promising models to help rural communities address social determinants of health, as well as lessons learned related to establishing and sustaining rural programs.

 

COVID-19: A Catalyst for Integrating Youth Behavioral Health Care Across Settings

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the behavioral health of children and families, and has further highlighted a complex system of behavioral health services and a high level of unmet need. As we look ahead, can we use this crisis to move the needle on innovations in care delivery? How can we provide better access to care across settings, including primary care and schools? What are the barriers and facilitators for integrated behavioral health care? And how can we address disparities and payment limitations in this space? On August 13, PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is hosting a virtual conversation with health care providers, national leaders in behavioral health, and policy and payer experts who will share their perspectives on these issues and more. The discussion will be informed by PolicyLab’s comprehensive policy review to address system needs for child behavioral health in the context of COVID-19.