December 17 Update: Open Enrollment Period Deadline; Reviewing Maternal Deaths; RWJF Health Equity Awards; Indiana Case Study

Friday was the very last day of open enrollment for and we are saw a big push by states as they remind residents of the deadline to sign up for health insurance. As of the enrollment numbers released last week, 4.13 million people have signed up for plans through as of December 8, of which 1.1 million are new consumers.

Also last week, Congress passed H.R. 1318, Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018, which directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a program under which HHS may make grants to states for the purpose of reviewing deaths from pregnancy and childbirth and to develop plans to prevent maternal deaths. The bill follows on the heels of passage of H.R. 315, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, which updates an existing federal program that identifies counties lacking maternal health care providers and creates incentives for providers to serve in those counties. And, if you are still looking to learn more about the proposed rule regarding Health Reimbursement Arrangements (the subject of a recent SHVS webinar), Jason Levitis has published a paper on the topic for Brookings. The deadline to comment is December 28. Updates follow.

  • California – Covered California, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, is reporting a surge in consumer interest in advance of the first deadline to sign up for health insurance. California, a state-based marketplace, has a longer open enrollment period, but the deadline to sign up for coverage effective January 1 is tomorrow.
  • Ohio – The Department of Medicaid released a report card for the five managed care plans in the state. The report card compares the state’s five plans across five performance areas based on information provided by the plans and their members.
  • Oregon
    • In a press release, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that former Medicaid Director Lori Coyner will return to that role as of January 28. In her previous work at OHA as state Medicaid director, Coyner played a pivotal role in securing federal renewal of Oregon’s Medicaid waiver. We look forward to welcoming Lori back.
    • The OHA and Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties sent seven behavioral health professionals to Alaska to assist with the state’s response to the November 30 earthquake. The agencies and counties responded to Alaska’s request for behavioral health professionals to assist schools in helping kids deal with trauma from the earthquake.
  • Pennsylvania – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced the release of a report that summarizes findings from a series of hearings on the role of pharmacy benefit managers. The report includes recommendations that outline several legislative actions for the General Assembly.
  • Virginia – The federal comment period on Virginia’s 1115 demonstration waiver is open and running through January 6, 2019. The state submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend its 1115 demonstration waiver–to be renamed Virginia COMPASS: Creating Opportunities for Medicaid Participants to Achieve Self-Sufficiency–and implement a community engagement program for eligible adult populations.
  • Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon – Six states received notification from CMS that they will receive a combined $634 million in federal pass-through funding under the Section 1332 waiver program. Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Oregon use the funds to operate reinsurance programs while Hawaii uses it for its Small Business Health Operations program.

Technical Assistance for States Interested in Pay for Success Initiatives under the Results Act

Social Finance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress, is offering free technical assistance to up to four teams interested in accessing Results Act funding. The Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (the Results Act), established a $100 million fund to support state and local government Pay for Success (PFS) initiatives. PFS is a powerful tool to help governments improve outcomes in their communities and Results Act funding will support communities in addressing chronic social issues ranging from maternal and child health, recidivism, and workforce development. Social Finance will dedicate a three person team to each government partner for up to four months to design a PFS project and support the submission of a Results Act application. Applications for technical assistance will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting December 17, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Treasury is expected to release a request for proposals in February 2019.

RWJF Health Equity Awards Recognize Changemakers

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) celebrated the nine winners of the 2018 Award for Health Equity, which recognizes individuals who have changed systems and policies at a local level to increase the chance that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. The winners receive a cash prize and were honored at an awards presentation on December 12, 2018, at the Foundation’s headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. This year’s honorees include a CEO who deployed mobile dental and harm reduction clinics to improve oral health and overall health in isolated rural communities; two community leaders who are transforming blighted properties into social hubs and community markets for local refugees and immigrants; and a teen activist who uses traditional Lakota talking circles to help native youths heal from the effects of intergenerational trauma and reconnect with their roots.

Case Study: Indiana’s Office of Health Opportunities

In early 2018, Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) created the Office of Healthy Opportunities, which is dedicated to ensuring “equitable access to the social and physical supports needed to promote health from birth through end-of-life.” The Center for Health Care Strategies published a case study that explores how FSSA is working to meet the goals set forth by the new office through engagement with consumers and collaboration with multiple peer agencies—including public and private stakeholders—to rethink how to optimize the integration and delivery of health and social services for Medicaid beneficiaries.