The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 as a signature effort to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. Included as part of the sweeping legislation is a program to fully subsidize COBRA coverage for six months starting in April of 2021. This expert perspective provides a short overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA, the major elements of the ARPA COBRA Assistance program, and considerations for state policymakers related to the program.
A Better Way to Manage Medicaid Costs
Anne Karl, Cindy Mann, and Patricia Boozang, Manatt Health
Many states are experiencing budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 induced recession. Since Medicaid accounts for a significant portion of states’ budgets, states often look to the Medicaid program for savings. Since the Great Recession, states have invested in initiatives that can improve care and also lower costs—such as improving coordination of behavioral health and physical health services, making home and community-based options more available to those who might otherwise go into nursing homes, addressing social drivers of health, and lowering pharmacy costs. Not all of these initiatives can generate short-term savings, but they offer other actions that states facing budget shortfalls may take to achieve savings. This toolkit outlines state options to address Medicaid spending without harming enrollee health and provider stability and access to care.