January 13 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Final Weekly Enrollment Snapshot
  • State Updates: ID, KS, ME, MI, NJ & WA
  • How States Compare on Addressing Affordability
  • Top Ten Health Insurance Policy Issues to Watch in 2020


Final Weekly Enrollment Snapshot

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final weekly enrollment snapshot for Healthcare.gov. Between November 1 and December 21, 2019, just under 8.3 million people selected or were automatically re-enrolled in health insurance plans through the Healthcare.gov platform. Of the 8,286,871 consumers who selected plans, 2,086,338 were new consumers while 6,200,533 were consumers renewing coverage. CMS will release a final enrollment report in March that will include final plan selection data from state-based exchanges that do not use the HealthCare.gov platform.


State Updates: ID, KS, ME, MI, NJ & WA

  • Idaho – The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare submitted a new Section 1115 waiver application requesting reimbursement of mental health and substance use disorder services in Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs). The waiver application also proposes changes to expand and improve the entire behavioral health continuum of care across the state. Public comments will be accepted until February 8, 2020.
  • Kansas – Governor Laura Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning announced a bipartisan compromise proposal to expand Medicaid while lowering health insurance premiums for Kansas families. Beyond full Medicaid expansion, the compromise also includes proposals to support a reinsurance program as well as rural health care innovations.  
  • Maine – Governor Janet Mills, Senate President Troy Jackson, and Speaker of the House Sara Gideon announced legislation to improve private health insurance for Maine people and small businesses. The bill proposed to merge the small group and individual markets, make changes to the state reinsurance program, and support a potential transition to a state-based marketplace.   
  • Michigan
    • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) allocated $17.5 million from the State Opioid Response Grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to respond to the opioid epidemic. The funds will support services for individuals at highest risk of overdose, including offering medications to treat opioid use disorder and expanding community-based treatment opportunities, including working to address racial disparities in opioid overdose deaths.
    • MDHHS is also hosting five public forums to receive feedback on the department’s vision for strengthening Michigan’s Medicaid-funded behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disabilities system. Information gathered during the forums will help the state design a system that best meets the needs of residents who rely on the services.
  • New Jersey
    • The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance announced the selection of GetInsured, a health insurance marketplace platform provider, to develop and operate the technology platform for New Jersey’s State-Based Health Insurance Exchange, as well as MAXIMUS to operate the consumer assistance center for the state. The state plans to transition to a state-based marketplace beginning in plan year 2021.
    • Governor Phil Murphy, along with cabinet and senior administration leadership, announced preliminary 2019 year-end opioid statistics for New Jersey. The data suggest a three percent decrease in deaths compared to 2018. Additionally, Governor Murphy announced a six percent decline in the number of opioids prescribed statewide. 
  • Washington – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced that more than 212,000 customers selected a 2020 health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace.


Policy Scorecard of State Efforts to Address Affordability of Health Care

Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released a scorecard rating 42 states and the District of Columbia on their adoption of evidence-based policy actions to improve the affordability of health care for residents. The Healthcare Affordability State Policy Scorecard shows that many states are taking steps to increase access to coverage, but far fewer are taking other actions to address the affordability of health care for residents. The scorecard shows that state residents struggle to afford health care, with significant variation among states. This variation in burden appears to be tied to policies enacted at the state level, particularly those that extend coverage or reduce out-of-pocket costs. Lawmakers, policymakers, and government officials can use the scorecard to understand how their state performs on addressing health care affordability relative to other states, and to craft a road map for specific evidence-based policy actions.


Top Ten Health Insurance Policy Issues to Watch in 2020

Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) published a new blog post highlighting the top ten health insurance policy issues to keep an eye on in 2020. Some of the top ten issues on which they anticipate to see action include: whether Congress will be able to pass legislation to protect people from balance billing; whether Georgia’s Section 1332 waiver application will be approved and if other states will follow in Georgia’s footsteps; and whether more states will continue to address the challenges patients face in accessing mental health and substance use disorder services. CHIR will be tracking activity in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, at Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, and at state departments of insurance around the country.