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.
With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) ninth open enrollment period (OEP) set to launch in less than a month, the ACA Marketplaces are seeing record enrollment numbers with more generous subsidies, new carrier competition, and a relatively stable rating environment. At the same time, there is uncertainty with the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and medical costs trending upward as the economy recovers, albeit at an uneven pace. These trends have made for a challenging rate review process in the 47 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) that conduct their own ACA rate reviews of carrier-proposed rates using federal review standards. State announcements of 2022 rates have trickled out at a slower pace than in prior years, and it is likely that many states will not publish their approved rates until the beginning of open enrollment. As always, state rate results vary widely and, even within states, there often are substantial variations among carriers and across different regions in geographically diverse states. With these caveats, this expert perspective highlights some observations about the factors that are impacting rate changes this year and the kind of variations that exist among states.
Access to affordable health coverage and healthcare for immigrant populations in the U.S. is critical to advancing health equity and reducing health disparities. This issue brief—the first in a series “Supporting Health Equity and Affordable Health Coverage for Immigrant Populations”—provides an overview of the national immigrant health coverage landscape and offers considerations for policymakers related to state-funded affordable coverage programs for low-income individuals who do not qualify for subsidized health insurance under the ACA or other public programs due to immigration status.
COVID-19, the resulting behavioral health crisis (including those related to mental health and substance use disorders), and calls for law enforcement reform related to behavioral health crisis response have heightened the urgency among federal, state, and local policymakers to expand access to behavioral health crisis services. Recently, the federal government has provided new funding opportunities to states to improve access to behavioral health crisis services, including mobile crisis services. As states review the opportunities available to begin, enhance, or expand mobile crisis intervention services under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, policymakers may further consider a hybrid funding model that provides mobile crisis providers with a consistent and steady stream of funding to ensure they are able to maintain 24/7 availability and respond in a timely manner to all individuals in crisis, regardless of insurance status. Such a new model for funding mobile crisis services could also be designed to hold payers accountable for covering mobile crisis services when their enrolled members use this essential resource. This issue brief presents a sustainable, hybrid coverage and funding approach for mobile crisis services.