How States Can Use Measurement as a Foundation for Tackling Health Disparities in Medicaid Managed Care
Kate Reinhalter Bazinsky and Michael Bailit, Bailit Health
Many people in America face segregation, social exclusion, encounters with prejudice, and unequal access and treatment by the health care system, all of which can impact health. Medicaid programs serve a disproportionate share of populations that are negatively impacted by health disparities. This new State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) issue brief 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. Additionally, it offers an approach for other states interested in measuring disparities in health care quality in Medicaid managed care 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.
As a reminder, SHVS is convening a series of webinarson advancing health equity through Medicaid managed care organizations. 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. On Thursday, June 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET SHVS (register here, required) will host the first webinar in the series, Advancing Health Equity in Medicaid Managed Care: An Introduction for States. This webinar will review the foundational principles of health equity, barriers to its realization, and the impact of health disparities.
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.