December 12 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Webinar: A Discussion with Medicaid Innovators
  • Report: Number of Uninsured Children Stabilized and Improved During Pandemic 
  • New Marketplace Enrollment Numbers
  • Adults in Medicaid-Enrolled Families Unaware of Redeterminations
  • The Erosion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and Potential Policy Responses
  • Reducing Racial Disparities in Childbirth-Related Outcomes Through Community Collaboration
  • State updates: CO, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OR, TN, TX & WA


Webinar: A Discussion with Medicaid Innovators 

On Monday, Dec. 19 at 12:00 p.m. ET, RWJF and the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) will host a virtual coffee chat with leaders from Arizona and California who received Medicaid Innovation Awards for their unique approaches to improving health outcomes while advancing health equity. Register today.

Report: Number of Uninsured Children Stabilized and Improved During Pandemic

Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) released its annual report on child health coverage last week, which shows the number of uninsured children in the United States declined during the pandemic–largely as a result of Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirement. Twelve states saw significant declines in the number of uninsured children. Read the full report here and check out CCF’s latest blog that explores what the end of the continuous coverage requirement will mean for children’s health coverage. Explore more in-depth state data and policies with CCF’s state hub.


New Marketplace Enrollment Numbers 

Earlier last week, CMS announced that nearly 5.5 million people have selected a marketplace plan through or a state-based exchange since the start of open enrollment on November 1, an 18% increase over this same time last year. State Health and Value Strategies published a toolkit to support state communication efforts during this open enrollment period which includes messaging tailored to the continuation of enhanced subsidies and the implementation of a fix to the “Family Glitch.” Template communications materials were added in Spanish to the Reaching Non-Citizen Communities: Resources to Support State Outreach and Education to Drive Healthcare Enrollment toolkit. 


Also last week, CMS announced a proposed rule to improve data exchange between programs and align and streamline prior authorization processes across CMS programs. The deadline to submit comments on the proposed rule is March 13, 2023. CMS also released a fact sheet on the proposed rule. Updates follow.


Adults in Medicaid-Enrolled Families Unaware of Redeterminations

A new report published by the Urban Institute finds that most adults with family Medicaid enrollment were not aware of the return to regular Medicaid renewals when the PHE expires. Researchers looked at data from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey from June 2022 to assess awareness of the resumption of Medicaid renewals, information sources about the change, and information about the change received by non-elderly adults who are covered by Medicaid or have a Medicaid-enrolled family member. Among the 37% of adults who had heard at least a little about the resumption of renewals, the most common source of information received was media, including social media, television, radio, and newspapers. Of those who had heard about the forthcoming change from state agencies or health plans, the information provided was most commonly a notification of the need to renew coverage. Low awareness of the resumption of Medicaid renewals indicates state programs may face significant information gaps among enrollees about the looming change. As a reminder, SHVS has created a one-stop resource page to support states as they plan for unwinding the PHE as well as template communications resources that can be customized.


The Erosion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and Potential Policy Responses

Employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) provides critical coverage for 160 million Americans. However, the adequacy of these plans is in decline, leaving many workers and their families underinsured. Employers acting alone will not be able to reverse this decline. Policy change is needed, but assessing what policies will work, and be feasible, is challenging. A new series for the Georgetown Center on Health Insurance Reforms blog assesses proposed policy options designed to improve the affordability of ESI, the state of the evidence supporting proposed policy changes, and opportunities for adoption. The first post of the series reviews the primary drivers of the erosion occurring in ESI and identifies three recognized policy options to improve affordability for employers and workers alike. Following blogs will dive deeper into each of the potential policies.


Reducing Racial Disparities in Childbirth-Related Outcomes Through Community Collaboration

The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs is hosting a webinar on efforts to improve maternal health outcomes in New Jersey. The Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative will share three maternal-child health initiatives that are helping to improve access to care in Camden, New Jersey, and Family Health Initiatives (FHI) will highlight a community collaboration to improve maternal health outcomes in New Jersey. Attendees will be provided steps to empower Black mothers through community collaboration in order to address the crisis of maternal mortality and advance meaningful change. Register for the December 13 webinar here.


State updates: CO, MI, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OR, TN, TX & WA

  • Colorado
    • The Polis-Primavera administration and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) submitted Colorado’s proposal to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to import prescription drugs from Canada. The submission is the first step in requesting federal approval to operate Colorado’s Canadian Drug Importation Program, which aims to save Colorado consumers and employers an average of 65% on imported medications. HCPF’s recent analysis shows that importation could result in $53 to $88 million in savings annually, depending on market adoption.
    • HCPF launched a partner communications toolkit to aid in preparing for the end of the PHE—Preparing for Renewals. This new toolkit includes a section on renewal process education that explains key terms and provides sample notices so partners can see exactly what the member will see when they go through the renewal process. In addition, both partners and members can view short videos in English and Spanish on key actions: updating an address, completing the renewal process, and transitioning to other coverage if a member no longer qualifies.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a request for proposals for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Workforce grants to provide funding for training of Michigan EMS personnel. The programs will be tasked with training people in EMS to address the critical shortage of paramedics statewide and to increase accessibility to EMS educational programming, specifically paramedic programs. The eight-month award period begins February 1, 2023 and ends September 30, 2023. MDHHS expects to award approximately $9 million, with a maximum of $350,000 for a single applicant.
  • New Jersey – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced several actions aimed at facilitating access to abortion care in New Jersey, protecting healthcare providers, and safeguarding patients’ privacy. The actions include a letter to all state licensing boards affirming that New Jersey state law protects the right to abortion, protects healthcare practitioners in the state from being disciplined for providing abortion care, and prohibits licensing boards from participating in interstate investigations that seek to penalize them; DCA also released a guidance document for healthcare providers on how to protect the personal data of patients seeking abortion care.
  • New Mexico – The New Mexico Human Services Department announced a partnership with the University of New Mexico to launch the New Mexico Center for Health Policy. The center will support evidence-based health policy and practice for New Mexico’s Medicaid program by addressing the most critical healthcare issues with a particular focus on New Mexicans covered by Medicaid. 
  • New York – NY State of Health, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, is working with food pantries for the sixth consecutive holiday season to help consumers access high-quality, affordable health insurance for the upcoming year. Certified enrollment specialists will be available at food pantries across the state during November and December to provide consumers with enrollment assistance.
  • North Carolina
    • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched the North Carolina Psychiatry Access Line (NC-PAL), a new mental and behavioral health training and consultation support program in K-12 schools. The services are designed to ensure participating K-12 school staff have the support they need to help their students who may be dealing with mental and behavioral health concerns. Participating schools opted in to the NC-PAL program and other mental and behavioral health funding and support opportunities at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year when opting into the StrongSchoolsNC COVID-19 Testing Program
    • NCDHHS and UNC Health will partner to convert the R.J. Blackley Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center into a 54-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, as part  of a shared commitment to behavioral health and the wellbeing of children and families. UNC Health and NCDHHS aim to open this new facility as early as July 1, 2023.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority’s Quality Incentive Program has published a new CCO performance metric dashboard so people can quickly find their metric of interest, see individual Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) trends over time and explore demographic breakouts at the CCO level. The dashboard is OHA’s first presentation of quality measures broken out by race, ethnicity, language, and disability (REALD) compliant data.
  • Tennessee – TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, released findings from its survey of enrollees on their use of medical facilities and their level of satisfaction with the TennCare program.
  • Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released a request for proposals for the State of Texas Access Reform and CHIP managed care programs, which serve pregnant women and children, as well as Supplemental Security Income adults in rural service areas. HHSC intends to award six-year contracts to at least three managed care organizations, with three, two-year renewal options.
  • Washington – Washington’s Section 1332 Waiver application was approved today. The waiver allows all Washington residents, regardless of immigration status, to purchase coverage on the marketplace. The state will support the affordability of residents that remain ineligible for federal subsidies if they purchase Cascade Care plans, the state’s public option.