February 10 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • SHVS Capped Medicaid Funding Resources
  • ACA Open Enrollment
  • State Updates: CA, CO, DE, DC, LA, NJ, TN & WV
  • Evaluating SUD Waivers
  • Mapping Childhood Opportunity
  • Fast-tracking Medicaid Enrollment


SHVS Capped Medicaid Funding Resources

Last week, State Health and Value Strategies published an issue brief that examines the State Medicaid Director Letter (SMDL) inviting states to apply for Section 1115 demonstration projects that would impose caps on federal Medicaid funding in exchange for new programmatic flexibility. SHVS also hosted a webinar, led by experts at Manatt Health, that provided a preliminary analysis of the SMDL and the potential implications for states. If you missed the webinar, SHVS posted a recording, as well as the slide deck, on its website.  


ACA Open Enrollment

SHVS published an expert perspective, authored by GMMB, that recaps the seventh ACA open enrollment and looks at the progress states have made towards increasing affordability and stabilizing their marketplaces. The post profiles policy and outreach lessons learned from states that may be helpful when thinking about the opportunities available in your state to address affordability.


State Updates: CA, CO, DE, DC, LA, NJ, TN & WV

  • California – Covered California, the CA state-based marketplace, provided early comments on the proposed payment standards from CMS for qualified health plans and exchanges. Covered California will submit its full comments to CMS in March, but made initial comments related to the federal user fee, value-based insurance designs, automatic re-enrollment, and risk adjustment.
  • Colorado – The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing and Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera released the Colorado Hospital Cost Shift Analysis Report that highlights the drivers of rising hospital prices in the state.
  • Delaware – The Delaware Division of Public Health, along with the University of Delaware, released the second edition of the Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners. The latest edition includes the most current data regarding the health status and current inequities in Delaware and shares new strategies and tools to support practitioners and partners in the implementation of evidenced-based strategies, interventions, and policy considerations.
  • District of Columbia – To remind residents of its extended deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage, DC Health Link partnered with local pizza franchises to place fliers in pizza delivery boxes on Super Bowl Sunday. DC Health Link extended open enrollment until February 5.
  • Louisiana – To better assist Medicaid members in completing renewal documents, the Louisiana Department of Health has begun including pre-filled forms in renewal letters that are sent to members each month. Each member will receive a paper renewal form that has been pre-filled with their information and will only need to check that the information is correct and use the spaces provided to make any changes.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy, alongside consumers, health care providers, and cabinet officials, hosted a roundtable discussion on health care affordability in New Jersey. Governor Murphy also announced Shabnam Salih as the first Director of the newly created Office of Health Care Affordability and Transparency within the Governor’s Office.
  • Tennessee – The state’s Comptroller of the Treasury published a report on an audit of the Division of TennCare’s eligibility redetermination process and the effect of the process on children’s enrollment in TennCare and CoverKids. The Comptroller found that the agency performed the established eligibility redetermination process as required by federal regulations and appropriately removed children from TennCare and CoverKids with only minor exceptions.
  • West Virginia – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Drug Control Policy, and the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment released the state’s 2020-2022 Substance Use Response Plan, which focuses on several aspects of substance use response, including prevention, community engagement treatment, and court systems and justice-involved populations.


Evaluating Medicaid Waivers for Substance Use Disorder Services

AcademyHealth published a blog post that shares insights from their evaluation of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia’s Section 1115 SUD waivers. The three states are successfully utilizing Section 1115 SUD waivers to allow federal Medicaid matching to cover treatment in short-term residential treatment facilities with 16 beds or greater, which is otherwise prohibited under the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion (IMD). In comparing the effect of these waivers across the states, the AcademyHealth researchers found several insights relevant to other states that may be looking for ways to both improve the impact and the evaluation of their waiver initiatives. 


Mapping Childhood Opportunity

Brandeis University, with support in part from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released the updated Child Opportunity Index (COI 2.0), which uses contemporary data to measure and map inequities in all 72,000 neighborhoods in the United States. The tool helps policymakers identify and address inequities at the community level in their states. In a blog post for RWJF, Dolores Acevdeo-Garcia, director of the team at Brandeis behind COI 2.0, shares an example of how neighborhoods support children’s healthy development. The blog post explains how COI 2.0 can be used to quantify, map, and compare neighborhood opportunities for children across the United States.


Fast-tracking Medicaid Enrollment

In a new issue brief and blog post, Benefits Data Trust (BDT) highlights Fast Track, an effective and underutilized strategy for connecting more people to Medicaid. The issue brief offers a deep-dive into the benefits of Fast Track, and profiles a case study of Fast Track implementation in Pennsylvania. According to BDT, Fast Track can also yield savings for states, by reducing the cost of processing applications. The issue brief outlines strategies for effective implementation of Fast Track, gleaned from the work BDT has done in Pennsylvania.