As we round out the seventh year of ACA open enrollment, State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) is reflecting on the successful steps that states have taken to provide quality, affordable health coverage to more residents and draw on lessons learned as this work moves forward. SHVS is excited to launch a series of posts featuring policy and outreach strategies states are employing to meet the needs of their residents. This Expert Perspective highlights some of the key ways in which states are driving efforts to increase enrollment this past open enrollment period. Subsequent posts will include deep dives into certain specific state policies and outreach strategies, such as plan standardization and targeted outreach to address health disparities in coverage.
State Medicaid programs are increasingly seeking to understand and address social factors that contribute to poor health—such as food insecurity, unstable housing, and a lack of access to social supports—in order to lower costs, improve outcomes for their members, and advance health equity. To inform this work of addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) and advancing health equity, states and Medicaid officials need data in order to identify priority areas of unmet social and economic needs, execute SDOH initiatives, and monitor and evaluate the impacts of these programs. Increasingly, states are leveraging a broad array of data sources to support efforts to address health equity. While those sources closest to the Medicaid program are the most widely used, each has advantages and disadvantages. This brief focuses on how Medicaid programs can use data from one federal survey, the American Community Survey (ACS), to inform and target interventions that seek to address social determinants of health and advance health equity. This brief also highlights relevant examples from states that use SDOH and health equity measures from the ACS, including which measures and what they are used for.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Director Letter on January 30, 2020 inviting states to apply for Section 1115 demonstration projects that would impose caps on federal Medicaid funding for the adult expansion and some other adult populations in exchange for new programmatic flexibility. Referred to as “Healthy Adult Opportunity” by CMS, these demonstrations would allow states to choose between two types of capped funding arrangements: a per capita cap or an aggregate cap (i.e., a block grant). In this SHVS issue brief, our colleagues at Manatt Health review the key features of the proposed capped funding demonstrations and highlight the considerations for states.