With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) ninth open enrollment period (OEP) set to launch in less than a month, the ACA Marketplaces are seeing record enrollment numbers with more generous subsidies, new carrier competition, and a relatively stable rating environment. At the same time, there is uncertainty with the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and medical costs trending upward as the economy recovers, albeit at an uneven pace. These trends have made for a challenging rate review process in the 47 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) that conduct their own ACA rate reviews of carrier-proposed rates using federal review standards. State announcements of 2022 rates have trickled out at a slower pace than in prior years, and it is likely that many states will not publish their approved rates until the beginning of open enrollment. As always, state rate results vary widely and, even within states, there often are substantial variations among carriers and across different regions in geographically diverse states. With these caveats, this expert perspective highlights some observations about the factors that are impacting rate changes this year and the kind of variations that exist among states.
Medicaid Buy-in: State Options and Design Considerations
In recent months, several proposals have been introduced at both the federal and state levels that would permit people above Medicaid eligibility levels to “buy in” to Medicaid or would leverage the Medicaid program to strengthen coverage across the individual market and Medicaid. In this webinar, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) program, together with technical assistance experts from Manatt Health, examined the central considerations that a state must take into account when developing a Medicaid buy-in proposal; the primary models for state-administered Medicaid buy-in proposals, and the administrative considerations and authorities needed for each model. The webinar also reviewed Section 1332 waiver authority and related deficit neutrality and pass-through funding implications that states will want to consider as they craft their buy-in proposals. We also highlighted states’ current efforts to develop buy-in initiatives.