On January 15, 2022, health insurers will be subject to new federal requirements to cover and waive cost-sharing for over-the-counter diagnostic tests for COVID-19 for the duration of the federal public health emergency. Past federal guidance required insurers to fully cover COVID-19 tests, but allowed them to require enrollees to first obtain a health professional’s determination that a test is medically necessary. The new requirements, published January 10, enable consumers to obtain the tests directly from pharmacies or online retailers without being seen by a health professional. With case rates surging and the costs of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests ranging from $14 to $34, this new benefit should provide significant financial relief to privately insured individuals. This expert perspective focuses on key provisions of the new coverage requirements as well as health equity considerations and implications for state insurance regulators.
Medicaid Buy-In: State Options, Design Considerations and Section 1332 Waiver Implications
Patricia Boozang, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and Ashley Traube, Manatt Health
States continue to identify and pursue strategies to further reduce the number of uninsured, to make coverage more affordable for consumers and to improve access to care. 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. This issue brief presents two possible models for a Medicaid buy-in program for states, and details the design considerations and authorities needed to implement each model.
The State Health Policy Highlight, Medicaid Buy-In: What Is It? And How Can It Be Useful to States? provides an overview of the concept of Medicaid buy-in and outlines the issues states can solve for by implementing a Medicaid buy-in program.
State Health and Value Strategies hosted a companion webinar, Medicaid Buy-in: State Options and Design Considerations based on the issue brief that provided an overview on Medicaid buy-in and explored the two models profiled in the issue brief.