October 19 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • New SHVS Resources on Screening for Social Risk Factors
  • COVID-19 and Medicaid Flexibilities
  • COVID-19 State Updates: CT, KY, MI & NC
  • Other State Updates: CO, DE, GA, MN & NJ
  • Webinar: Screening for Social Risk Factors
  • Webinar: Changes in the Coverage Environment During COVID-19
  • FY 2021 Medicaid Enrollment & Spending
  • Learning and Action on Policy and Partnerships


New SHVS Resources on Screening for Social Risk Factors

Last week State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) published a series of issue briefs on screening Medicaid enrollees for social risk factors (SRFs). Social Risk Factor Screening in Medicaid Managed Care explores why Medicaid managed care members should be screened for SRFs, identifies screening design decisions, and reviews options for screening tool selection. Developing a Social Risk Factor Screening Measure is designed to be a resource for states looking to adopt a measure to assess social risk factor screening rates. State Health and Value Strategies is hosting a two-part webinar series on the issue briefs, with the first webinar, Screening for Social Risk Factors Part I: Working with Medicaid Managed Care to Design Screening Requirements, on October 26 at 2:30 p.m. ESTRegistration for the webinar is required.


COVID-19 and Medicaid Flexibilities

SHVS also updated its resource Coronavirus (COVID-19) Unwinding Federal Medicaid Flexibilities: Issues and Considerations for States to reflect the renewal of the Public Health Emergency as of October 2, 2020. The Excel workbook is intended to serve as a tool for states as they strategize and plan for the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, states can utilize this template to conduct both a primary analysis as they determine which flexibilities to unwind or maintain and a secondary analysis to plan for operational and implementation implications.


COVID-19 State Updates: CT, KY, MI & NC

  • Connecticut – Governor Ned Lamont announced the members he is appointing to serve on the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. The group will be responsible for advising the governor on preparations for a COVID-19 vaccine, including the optimization of a statewide vaccine distribution strategy and communicating critical medical information about the vaccine to the state’s residents.
  • Kentucky – Governor Andy Beshear announced $2.8 million for 14 Recovery Kentucky centers across the commonwealth to help ensure safe, stable housing for those recovering from substance use disorder. Through Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funding, each center will be eligible for approximately $200,000 to offset costs incurred due to COVID-19. Funds also help ensure centers can continue services while protecting residents and staff from COVID-19.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Michigan State University (MSU) launched a COVID-19 exposure notification app pilot program on the MSU campus and for the surrounding community. The app is a next step to help reduce the spread of the virus following increased testing and additional contact tracing efforts in Michigan.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that more than 100,000 people have downloaded SlowCOVIDNC, the state’s official exposure notification app. SlowCOVIDNC alerts users when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app relies on users to anonymously submit their positive result to notify others.

Other State Updates: CO, DE, GA, MN & NJ

  • Colorado – Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, and the Department of Revenue have named the members to serve on the Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program’s advisory committee to guide implementation and administration of the program. Starting in 2022, the Easy Enrollment Program will allow Coloradans to mark on their state tax return that they are uninsured and opt-in for their information to be shared with Connect for Health Colorado to see if they qualify for financial help or Medicaid.
  • Delaware – Over the last decade, Delaware’s mortality rate for all cancer sites combined declined 10 percent between the five-year periods of 2002-2006 and 2012-2016, according to the latest cancer data released by the Division of Public Health. In the same time span, Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate also declined for African American males and females, and Hispanic females.
  • Georgia – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced approval of the state’s new Medicaid section 1115 demonstration, “Pathways to Coverage,” which would create an opt-in to Medicaid for otherwise ineligible Georgia adults with incomes up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line who participate in qualifying activities like work and education and meet premium and income requirements. In a press release CMS stated that it has completed its review of Georgia’s Section 1332 waiver request and is working with the state and federal partners to finalize the terms and conditions for the waiver’s approval.
  • Minnesota – MNsure, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced $3.5 million in funding to support the Navigator Outreach and Enrollment Grant Program. Forty-three organizations across Minnesota will use these grants to fund targeted outreach to uninsured populations and sustain a robust statewide navigator network to provide application, enrollment, and renewal assistance to Minnesotans who need help to get and maintain coverage. This year’s grants began on September 1, 2020, and will end June 30, 2021.
  • New Jersey – Governor Murphy announced the launch of the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, which is now open to residents to browse health plans, compare prices, and find out if they may qualify for financial help ahead of the open enrollment period that begins November 1. New Jersey residents will no longer use HealthCare.gov to enroll in Marketplace health insurance plans. Instead, Marketplace plans and financial help will only be available through Get Covered New Jersey. 


Webinar: Screening for Social Risk Factors

Monday, October 26, 2020, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EST

SHVS is hosting a webinar series on screening Medicaid members for social risk factors. State Medicaid agencies are increasingly recognizing the effect that nonmedical factors, such as social risk factors, have on health. Social risk factors are adverse social conditions which create barriers to health for individuals, and include food insecurity and homelessness. The first webinar will draw from a recently published issue brief, Social Risk Factor Screening in Medicaid Managed Care, and will review key terms, screening tools, and design decisions for states interested in screening Medicaid managed care members for social risk factors.

Registration (required) at the following link: https://rwjfevents.webex.com/rwjfevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec70c55f36f2ba6c5c191af28ac24ad21


Webinar: Changes in the Coverage Environment During COVID-19

Friday, October 30, 2020, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST

State Medicaid agencies and marketplaces are facing intense pressure as coverage volatility resulting from the COVID-19 economic downturn continues and the 2021 open enrollment period begins. Millions of people have already lost jobs and in many cases their employer-sponsored insurance, and the number of individuals entering the unemployment ranks for the first time remains high. Additionally, the eventual (and unknown) end to the public health emergency adds to the dynamic of coverage churn in and across Medicaid and the marketplaces, making it more critical than ever that states prepare for increases and shifts in enrollment. SHVS is hosting a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and GMMB will review the trajectory of 2020 Medicaid enrollment growth to date and provide effective strategies for communication with members and coordination across state Medicaid agencies and marketplaces to support coverage access and retention in this dynamic environment. The webinar will include a question and answer session during which webinar participants can pose their questions to the experts on the line.

Registration (required) at the following link: https://rwjfevents.webex.com/rwjfevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef98237b8a31e465d8d32e6dd3407776b


Medicaid Enrollment and Spending in Fiscal Year 2021

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released two reports based on findings from its annual Medicaid budget survey. Following several years of declining or flat enrollment growth, states expect Medicaid enrollment and spending each to jump by more than 8 percent in fiscal year 2021, chiefly due to a slumping economy amid the pandemic and federal conditions to maintain coverage to access enhanced federal matching funds, according to the new KFF Medicaid budget survey. The findings paint a picture of a Medicaid program that state officials expect increasingly will be relied upon to provide health coverage and help soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for low-income people—all at a time when state governments’ financial capacity to provide such services is stretched thin. The annual budget survey also provides an in-depth, state-specific examination of changes and initiatives taking place in Medicaid programs. This year, many involve the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable findings include targeting financial support to providers who are financially strained, expanding telehealth service delivery, and addressing longstanding disparities in health and health care by addressing the social determinants of health.


Learning and Action on Policy and Partnerships

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) is partnering with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) to host a webinar on the Learning and Action on Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) initiative. This initiative will offer multisector community collaborations access to financial support, with $100,000 each for one year and the potential for a second year of funding to support further scale. The aim of this effort is to enable communities to engage states in policy and systems alignment initiatives with the potential to affect the data-sharing ecosystem across sectors within those states. This webinar will serve as an opportunity for potential applicants to learn more about the LAPP initiative, as well as ask any questions about the application process.