Emerging Strategies for Connecting Justice-Involved Populations to Medicaid Coverage and Care
States are exploring opportunities to engage justice-involved populations–including juveniles and adults–in Medicaid coverage, case management and health care both immediately prior to and following their release from prison or jail. States’ interests are motivated by the high needs and high related health costs of these individuals–who are often eligible for Medicaid upon release, especially in states that have expanded Medicaid. The health needs of the justice-involved are considerable: an estimated 80 percent of individuals released from prison in the United States each year have a substance use disorder or chronic medical or psychiatric condition and incarcerated individuals have 9 to 10 times the rate of hepatitis C and eight to nine times the rate of HIV infection than the general population.
On Tuesday, June 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET, State Health and Value Strategies, in partnership with Manatt Health, hosted a webinar for states that provides an overview of the opportunities available to connect justice involved populations to Medicaid coverage and care. Despite the current prohibition on drawing down federal Medicaid financing to fund health care for people while they are incarcerated, there are a number of strategies states can deploy to meaningfully connect justice-involved populations to critical coverage as well as medication and physical and behavioral health care services when re-entering the community. The webinar provided an overview of Medicaid enrollment and suspension processes to make sure an individual has active Medicaid coverage and “in-reach” planning pre-release that helps with engagement and care management post-release. Additionally, the webinar reviewed the new federal requirements under the SUPPORT Act, opioid legislation enacted last year by Congress, related to justice-involved populations and discuss emerging 1115 Waiver activity nationally to enable Medicaid coverage to commence even before community re-entry.
On December 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published and made effective an interim final rule (IFR) with comment period regarding states’ ongoing unwinding efforts to redetermine eligibility for all Medicaid enrollees nationwide. This expert perspective summarizes the IFR, which interprets and implements the state reporting requirements and CMS enforcement authorities that Congress enacted last winter in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
The 11th annual open enrollment period (OEP) is underway, providing consumers with an opportunity to enroll in health coverage for plan year 2024 through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. To support consumers during this OEP, State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) are innovating to make health coverage more affordable and easier for consumers to enroll. This expert perspective highlights new initiatives being implemented by SBMs during the plan year 2024 OEP, including establishing or improving state subsidy programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs, expanding coverage for undocumented populations, or implementing policies to improve the enrollment process.
As the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement continues, both states and the federal government are tracking and monitoring the impacts of the resumption of eligibility redeterminations and disenrollments. Given the time-lags and caveats of CMS data, many states are publishing their own state data dashboards. To date, 46 states (including the District of Columbia) have released unwinding data in either an interactive dashboard or static pdf format, or are making public their required CMS Monthly Unwinding Data reports. This expert perspective includes an interactive map with links to state reporting, as well as a table tracking the unwinding indicators and disaggregated data that states are reporting on. SHVS will continue to update this EP as more states publish their unwinding data.