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.
Targeted Options for Increasing Medicaid Payments to Providers During COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in utilization that threaten the financial stability of providers and may jeopardize access to care during and after the national emergency. The federal government acknowledged the financial challenges facing providers through supplemental funding included in the three federal stimulus bills–the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. In addition, several states submitted Section 1115 waivers requesting CMS approval to establish “disaster relief funds,” paid for with Medicaid dollars, to further assist providers. States sought out innovative strategies to leverage Medicaid authorities to support the essential and vulnerable providers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar in which experts from Manatt Health walked through tools states can use to increase payments to providers through both fee-for-service and Medicaid managed care, despite COVID-19 driven changes to utilization. This slide deck has been updated as of August 26, 2020 to reflect more recent federal guidance and examples of specific strategies states implemented between April and August 2020.
As a companion to the webinar, Manatt Health produced a toolkit for states that identifies available tools to support safety-net providers despite substantial utilization changes resulting from COVID-19.