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.
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.
As a follow-up to the webinar, SHVS produced a compendium of questions and answers from the webinar.