February 6 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • CMS Releases New Unwinding Guidance
  • New SHVS Publications: Operationalizing Community Engagement
  • New SHVS Unwinding Communications Resource Available: Video Message with Your State’s Branding
  • Biden Administration Proposes New Rules to Expand Access to Birth Control Coverage Under the ACA
  • State updates: CA, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, OH & WI


CMS Releases New Unwinding Guidance

Two weeks ago, CMS released a State Health Official (SHO) letter, which is the second in a series of guidance related to the unwinding provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (CAA). State Health and Value Strategies just published an expert perspective summarizing the SHO letter. As a reminder, SHVS has created a single-stop resource page to support states as they plan for unwinding. 


New SHVS Publications: Operationalizing Community Engagement

Last week, SHVS published two new issue briefs authored by experts from Health Equity Solutions that serve as resources for states to design and implement meaningful community engagement strategies. Transformational Community Engagement to Advance Health Equity provides an overview of the range of community engagement options and highlights how, by fostering trust and mutual respect and responding to the experiences of the people impacted by programs and policies, community engagement can promote equity. The issue brief also contains a list of strategies and tactics, which offers options for states to consider when working to advance towards transformational community engagement and achieve their community engagement goals. State Examples of Medicaid Community Engagement Strategies: Two Case Studies highlights community engagement work in Virginia and Colorado. Each state has invested in coordinated community engagement strategies that amplify the voices of those directly impacted by Medicaid and leverage their input to drive improvements. This pioneering work offers practical examples of how to structure community engagement to foster participation and improve program outcomes. 


New SHVS Unwinding Communications Resource Available: Video Message with Your State’s Branding

To assist states as they prepare for the unwinding of the continuous coverage requirement, GMMB is developing a template video resource for states to use in their outreach and education about renewals. Two videos will be available to states, for free, including 30-second and 60-second versions, to use in social media and digital outreach strategies. This is a great opportunity for states to create a video segment, free of charge, customized for your state that will be plug and play for your outreach purposes. Each state can customize the end card of the videos with specific branding elements, such as agency logos, call center phone numbers, and web addresses. If you are interested in a customizable end card, please fill out this form and return it by Friday, February 10 (see instructions on the form)


Biden Administration Proposes New Rules to Expand Access to Birth Control Coverage Under the ACA

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Departments of Labor and the Treasury proposed a rule to strengthen access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, most plans are required to offer coverage of birth control with no out-of-pocket cost. To date, millions of women have benefited from this coverage. The proposed rules seek to ensure broader access to contraceptive services by creating an independent pathway for individuals enrolled in plans arranged or offered by objecting entities to make their own choice to access contraceptive services directly through a willing contraceptive provider without any cost. This would allow women and covered dependents to navigate their own care and still obtain birth control at no cost in the event their plan or insurer has a religious exemption and, if eligible, has not elected the optional accommodation. The proposed rules would leave in place the existing religious exemption for entities and individuals with objections, as well as the optional accommodation for coverage.


State updates: CA, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, OH & WI


  • California – The California Department of Health Care Services announced the award of $119 million in total funding to 98 local organizations to help build capacity and infrastructure in the Medi-Cal (Medicaid) delivery system. Uses of the awards include: increasing the provider workforce; investing in infrastructure and IT systems to support the delivery of Enhanced Care Management (ECM) or Community Supports; and developing plans to conduct outreach to historically under-resourced and/or underserved populations to engage them in care. Organizations are also invited to use funds to conduct community health assessments to evaluate and address existing gaps in ECM and Community Support services.
  • Kansas – Governor Laura Kelly announced that since its launch in July 2022, the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline has handled a nearly 27% increase in call volume compared to the six months before its launch. Based on national projections, Kansas is estimated to reach 120,000 Kansans in the hotline’s first full year of operation.
  • Maine – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced the Medicaid redetermination process will begin in April, with May renewals issued on April 21, 2023. If a member with a May renewal does not return the renewal by May 31, 2023, MaineCare (Medicaid) will close their coverage effective June 2023.
  • Massachusetts – The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services published an update on the plan for MassHealth (Medicaid) eligibility redeterminations, with outreach and communications ramping up now through April 1, their proposed start date for redeterminations.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is requesting proposals to expand the Child and Adolescent Health Center program through school-based or school-linked health services. The models funded through this grant include Child and Adolescent Health Centers (CAHC) and School Wellness Programs (SWP). The CAHC Program provides a safe and caring place for children and adolescents to learn positive health behaviors, prevent diseases and receive needed medical care and support. Clinical CAHC and SWP program models assist eligible children and adolescents with enrollment in Medicaid and provide access to Medicaid preventive services.
  • Minnesota – Governor Tim Waltz signed a bill that codifies protections for all reproductive healthcare, including but not limited to: contraception, sterilization, preconception care, maternity care, abortion care, family planning and fertility services, and counseling regarding reproductive healthcare.
  • Missouri – The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) announced Medicaid annual renewals will restart April 1. DSS published frequently asked questions for more information about Medicaid eligibility renewals and is also asking partners and providers to help spread the word about the upcoming eligibility renewal process by sharing DSS’ outreach materials and resources from their communications toolkit.
  • Nebraska – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the resumption of regular reviews of Medicaid eligibility starting March 1. Each Nebraska Medicaid member’s current eligibility will be reviewed starting up to 90 days prior to their renewal month. Members with April and May renewal months will be reviewed first, and DHHS anticipates it will take approximately twelve months to review all cases.
  • New Hampshire – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced its plans to resume regular Medicaid eligibility and enrollment operations beginning on April 1, 2023. In the coming months, DHHS will be reaching out to approximately 102,000 enrollees to determine their Medicaid eligibility.
  • New Jersey
    • The New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) announced NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid) will begin re-determining members’ eligibility on April 1, 2023.
    • First Lady Tammy Murphy and DHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced that NJ FamilyCare has increased reimbursement rates for perinatal, midwifery and community doula care as part of ongoing efforts to improve birth outcomes. Specifically, reimbursement rates for physicians and midwives will match 100% of current Medicare rates for certain maternity-related services, up from 50%; midwives will receive the same reimbursement rate as physicians for all covered services, including midwifery care outside of maternity-related care, such as routine gynecological care, and community doulas will receive $1,165 for labor support and eight perinatal visits, up from $900.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that on April 1, 2023, approximately 55,000 children receiving NC Health Choice (CHIP) coverage will move to NC Medicaid and begin receiving additional physical and behavioral health services. Families with children moving from NC Health Choice to Medicaid will no longer have to pay enrollment fees or copays for medical visits and prescriptions. They will also have access to enhanced behavioral health services not previously covered by NC Health Choice.
  • Ohio – The Ohio Department of Medicaid announced it will resume redeterminations on February 1, 2023. The first round of termination letters will be mailed to those who are no longer eligible beginning in April 2023.
  • Wisconsin – The Governor’s Health Equity Council released its full report “Building a Better Wisconsin: Investing in the Health and Well-being of Wisconsinites” that includes descriptions of each of the council’s recommendations. Established under Governor Tony Evers’ Executive Order #17, the council was charged with creating a comprehensive plan to achieve long-lasting and equitable health outcomes for all Wisconsinites.