Resources for State Officials on COVID-19
Medicaid programs, health insurance Marketplaces, and insurance Commissioners have been working alongside Governors and public health leaders responding to the COVID-19 crisis. SHVS is bringing together toolkits, templates, state examples, and expert analysis.
The rollout of vaccines designed to end the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has begun in earnest across the United States. Currently, each state is responsible for determining how to allocate, distribute, track, and report its vaccine allotment from the federal government, although the federal government is expected to take on a larger role under a new Biden administration. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color have been disproportionately impacted by both higher risks of infection and poorer health outcomes, and many are concerned that an inequitable or inefficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine may further widen health inequities among these populations. One way to help ensure the equitable administration of COVID-19 vaccine is to track vaccine administration disaggregated for key subpopulations, such as gender, race and ethnicity, and geography (e.g., urban vs. rural). This expert perspective reviews the data states are currently publicly reporting related to vaccine administration and provides an interactive map that explores the extent to which all 50 states are reporting vaccine administration data breakdowns by age, gender, race, ethnicity, provider type, and level of geography. The expert perspective also discusses what current data sources states are using to provide this information and provides an overview of options states can consider to collect information about the administration of COVID-19 vaccine in populations via survey data.
On Thursday, January 21 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health discussed the sub-regulatory guidance and the implications for states, in light of the recent public health emergency renewal by Secretary Azar. The webinar reviewed the expectations laid out in the guidance related to timelines, consumer communications, and fair hearing processes for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for those who have had their coverage continuously maintained as a condition of receiving the temporary 6.2 percent FMAP increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additionally, presenters discussed the expected processes and timelines for terminating, or making permanent where allowable, temporary federal flexibilities that were obtained.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets up a structure with key roles for both federal and state policymakers. Maryland fully embraced the ACA from the start. From establishing a state-based marketplace to a temporary Maryland supplemental reinsurance program, Maryland made every effort to ensure the ACA’s success in the state. This case study describes the measures taken by the state to improve affordability and coverage, identifies unique program design features, and discusses their bipartisan appeal as experienced in Maryland. Maryland’s efforts can serve as a helpful framework for other similarly situated states seeking to address pressing health coverage affordability issues.