In 2019, the Washington legislature enacted a bill requiring insurers on the state’s health insurance exchange to offer plans with standardized benefit designs, beginning in 2021. Colorado and Maryland are considering similar requirements. As these and other states consider the option of standardized health plans, they can benefit from the experiences of California, the District of Columbia (D.C.), Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, all of which require insurers to offer standardized benefit designs. This Expert Perspective outlines benefits and risks of plan standardization, and raises critical questions that states will need to consider, and offers a decision roadmap for states implementing a standardized benefit design requirement.
SHVS Health Equity Through Managed Care Webinar Series
About the Series
State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) convened a series of webinars on health equity through managed care. Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible, which requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to housing, safe environments, and health care. This five-part series will assist states interested in addressing disparities in health outcomes among Medicaid managed care beneficiaries as a step towards achieving health equity.
Open to all state Medicaid agencies and state agency partners, the series explored:
- Data collection and measurement to identify disparities in health that adversely affect excluded or marginalized groups.
- Evidence-based approaches to advancing health equity.
- Strategies for utilizing managed care contracts as a vehicle for improving the health of excluded or marginalized groups.
Webinar #1: Advancing Health Equity in Medicaid Managed Care: An Introduction for States, the first webinar in the series, reviewed the foundational principles of health equity, barriers to its realization and the impact of health disparities.
Webinar #2: Health Equity and Medicaid Managed Care: Data Collection and Measurement, the second webinar in the series, explored how states can use data collection and measurement to support their efforts to advance health equity in Medicaid managed care.
Webinar #3 Evidence-Based Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities, the third webinar in the series, identified evidence-based interventions that states can use to address disparities in their Medicaid managed care programs.
Webinar #4 Using MCO Contract and Performance Requirements, the fourth webinar in the series, reviewed approaches employed by states to incorporate contract requirements and performance incentives in Medicaid managed care contracts to reduce health disparities among covered populations.
Webinar #5 The Medicaid MCO Experience in Addressing Health Equity, the fifth webinar in the series, profiled the work of one MCO, HealthPartners, in addressing equity issues within its Medicaid line of business. We heard from Brian Lloyd, who manages Health Partners’ organization-wide equity initiative, which includes collecting data to eliminate disparities in care, supporting language access, partnering with communities, and building an organizational understanding of equity, diversity, inclusion, and bias.
State Health and Value Strategies has also published an issue brief that provides examples from a handful of states that have begun the work of identifying, evaluating, and reducing health disparities within their Medicaid managed care programs. The brief, How States Can Use Measurement as a Foundation for Tackling Health Disparities in Medicaid Managed Care, offers an approach for other states interested in measuring disparities in health care quality as a step towards achieving health equity, such that all Medicaid managed care enrollees have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.