July 18 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Transition to 988
  • Social Screening in Healthcare Settings
  • Medicaid Pathways Program applications open
  • Health Coverage Options for Ukrainian Nationals
  • Health Plan Premiums Poised to Spike in 2023
  • State Updates: AK, AR, CA, CT, MI, MN, MT, NJ, NY & OR

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Transition to 988

This past weekend, the United States transitioned the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988—an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration created a resource page to provide states, territories, tribes, and mental health and substance use disorder professionals with information on funding opportunities and implementation resources for strengthening suicide prevention and mental health crisis services.

Health Coverage Options for Certain Ukrainian Nationals

Also last week, CMS released the Health Coverage Options for Certain Ukrainian Nationals fact sheet. The publication outlines pathways to health coverage eligibility through Medicaid, CHIP, the Marketplace, or Refugee Medical Assistance based on the legal pathways through which Ukrainians may enter or reside in the United States under current law, including parole, temporary protected status, and refugee. This fact sheet is modeled on the similar guidance that CMS released in November 2021 regarding health coverage options for Afghan nationals, who similarly received special protections from Congress following America’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

 State of the Science on Social Screening in Healthcare Settings

In a recent report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network at the University of California (SIREN) synthesizes existing research on social screening in US healthcare settings with the goal of informing the intensifying national dialogue about this topic. In the report, SIREN summarizes findings in five digestible sections: prevalence of screening; an update on the psychometric and pragmatic validity of existing screening tools; patients’ perspectives on screening; providers’ perspectives on screening; and screening implementation.

Medicaid Pathways Program

The Medicaid Pathways Program (MMP) has issued a Request for Applications. MMP is led by the Center for Health Care Strategies with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a nine-month professional development program that supports senior Medicaid leaders in cultivating the skills to successfully lead in a complex organization like Medicaid, advance initiatives that support organizational development goals, and, ultimately, improve outcomes for enrollees. Applications are due July 22, 2022, 5:00 p.m. ET.

Health Plan Premiums Poised to Spike in 2023

With rate filing season for health insurers underway, a new blog post by the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms reviews early rate filings, which can provide hints about how insurers are responding to market trends, policy changes, and emerging drivers of healthcare costs. Although most proposed premium rates for 2023 won’t be public until the end of July, a handful of state regulators require submissions in May or June and post those proposed rates on their websites. The blog post’s author, SHVS partner Sabrina Corlette, reviewed early proposed rate filings in the District of Columbia (D.C.), Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington to gain insights into how individual market insurers are developing their 2023 premium rates amidst a spike in inflation, uncertainty about federal policies affecting the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and a pandemic with an unknown future trajectory.

  • Arkansas – Arkansas submitted an extension application for the Arkansas TEFRA-like 1115 demonstration, which provides services to disabled children eligible for Medicaid under section 134 of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA). TEFRA is an optional Medicaid category of coverage that allows children with disabilities, whose family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, to gain Medicaid eligibility based on the income and resources of the child. The federal public comment period will be open from July 14, 2022 through August 13, 2022.
  • California – Covered California, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, releasedan updated analysis which highlights how the expiration of the American Rescue Plan would raise costs for enrollees, including doubling premiums on average for one million low-income Californians, and may lead up to 220,000 people to drop their health coverage. The analysis comes as Congress deliberates whether to extend the law, which provides increased financial help and is set to expire at the end of this year.
  • Connecticut – Governor Ned Lamont announced that he is appointing Kimberly R. Martone to serve as acting executive director of the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy, the state agency that is responsible for implementing data-driven strategies that promote equal access to healthcare, improve the value of healthcare, contain costs, and ensure better healthcare systems for Connecticut residents.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced an expanded partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation through Project Act to provide 300,000 COVID-19 tests to 60,000 households free of charge to communities at higher risk of transmission. Michigan was previously enrolled in a pilot program that provided 250,000 tests to 50,000 households.
  • Montana
    • The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has launched a new podcast called Talking Health in the 406. The podcast focuses on powerful stories and impactful conversations about health issues and wellness. 
    • Montana submitted a request for a five year extension of the Montana Waiver for Additional Service and Populations section 1115 demonstration. The demonstration provides expenditure authority for twelve-month continuous eligibility and coverage of healthcare services for lower-income individuals age 18 or older who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid, who have been diagnosed with a severe disabling mental illness of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, or another severe disabling mental illness. The demonstration also authorizes expenditures for Montana to provide dental treatment services above the state plan dental treatment services annual limit of $1,125 for certain categorically eligible enrollees. The federal public comment period will be open from July 14, 2022 through August 13, 2022.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A-674/S-1646) creating the New Jersey Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program to make it easier for residents to obtain health insurance through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace. Through this program, uninsured and underinsured residents can indicate their interest in coverage for themselves or a household member on their tax return or through unemployment insurance benefit claims, which will be shared with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. As required by the legislation, the department will create a system to analyze the data collected through tax returns and unemployment benefit claims to determine a resident’s eligibility for health insurance coverage and ability to receive financial help through Get Covered New Jersey and proactively connect with qualifying residents to help them enroll.
  • New York
    • NY State of Health, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, released Health Insurance Coverage Update: Impact of ARPA Subsidies. The enrollment report, which compares data from March 2020 to May 2022, describes how millions of New Yorkers have benefitted from access to affordable, comprehensive coverage through the marketplace thanks to flexibilities permitted during the Federal COVID-19 PHE and ARPA premium subsidies. The report finds without the enhancements under ARPA, premiums for subsidy-eligible consumers who qualify for financial assistance would be 58 percent higher.
    • NY State of Health announced its continued partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to educate shoppers at farmers markets throughout the state this summer about low-cost, high-quality health coverage.
  • Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon – CMS approved Section 1332 waiver extensions for AlaskaMinnesota, and Oregon. In each case, the extension continues the states’ reinsurance programs, lowering premiums and enhancing stability in the states’ insurance markets.