Section 1115 waivers allow states to waive certain Medicaid statutory requirements in order to advance state policy priorities and test innovations in their Medicaid programs, provided that they are budget neutral and “further the goals of the Medicaid program.” Since 2014, seven states have used 1115 waivers to implement alternative Medicaid expansions, and these waivers are likely to be leveraged by states in the next four years to advance changes to Medicaid. This issue brief, developed by Manatt Health, provides an overview of the features of these alternative Medicaid expansion waivers.
Shared Measurement and Joint Accountability Across Health Care and Non-Health Care Sectors: State Opportunities to Address Population Health Goals
Health care leaders are well-positioned to use cross-sector approaches to drive improvements in population health in collaboration with state leaders. Through the use of joint measurement and accountability tools, policymakers can help to improve health outcomes to an extent not possible through isolated, medical-centric efforts. This issue brief, developed by Dana Hargunani, MD, MPH, outlines how state agencies can use shared measurement and joint accountability across sectors as tools for improving population health outcomes.
Proposals for the incoming Congress and presidential administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have also included a call for a fundamental overhaul of the Medicaid program by imposing caps on federal funding to states. Such capped funding would replace the central feature of Medicaid’s financing structure, the federal government’s legal obligation to share all allowable state Medicaid costs. While the design of various proposals to cap federal Medicaid funding may differ in several ways, they all aim to allow the federal government to achieve budget certainty and reduce federal Medicaid spending.
Medicaid expansion has generated significant savings and new revenues for states, which they have used to finance spending priorities and to offset state Medicaid costs. States that have expanded Medicaid received over $60 billion in federal funds in 2015 and covered approximately 11 million newly eligible people. This tool, developed by Manatt Health, is designed to help states document the impacts of Medicaid expansion on state budgets, including revenue generation and reductions to state general fund spending on Medicaid and other health related programs and services. This tool can be used to demonstrate the impact of expansion as the incoming administration and the new Congress develop proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), potentially including the Medicaid expansion.
As we approach the beginning of a new presidential administration, there has been continued debate regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), much of which has focused on the marketplaces, the mandate, and health insurance reforms such as the ban on insurers’ blocking coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. A potential elimination of the law’s Medicaid expansion to low-income adults and other ACA Medicaid provisions, however, would have far-reaching implications for states and the Medicaid program.
Social factors, including economic stability, housing, education, relationships, neighborhood, and other environmental influences, can have a significant impact on individuals’ health status. In order to make improvements to the health of both individuals and their communities, an integrated approach is critical. Policymakers need to bridge the gap between social services and health care delivery in their efforts to make these improvements, and several states have begun to develop innovative approaches toward this integration, which might provide valuable lessons for others.
With the United States in the midst of a worsening opioid epidemic, an examination of the resources and tools available to states in combating this crisis is critical. With Medicaid serving as the largest source of coverage for behavioral health services, including those related to substance use disorders (SUDs), the role that it can occupy in addressing the epidemic is clear. An additional 1.2 million individuals with SUDs have gained access to coverage in states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. This issue brief, developed by Manatt Health, reviews Medicaid strategies to combat the opioid epidemic.
Improving Online Health Insurance Marketplaces: The Critical Nature of Direct Observation in Assessing the Consumer User Experience (UX)
As the fourth open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, online health insurance marketplaces must consider ways in which they can assess the consumer user experience in order to make continued improvements. Direct consumer observation, known as Consumer User Experience (UX) assessment, represents one such tactic that could serve as a very valuable tool for marketplaces as they continue their future strategic planning. This issue brief, prepared by Claudia Page, examines UX assessment channels and provides a closer look at what can be learned by directly observing actual consumers as they apply for coverage.
Partnerships Between Brokers and Marketplaces: An Assessment of Minnesota’s Broker-Operated Enrollment Centers
As health insurance marketplaces continue to approach the fourth open enrollment period, the development of innovative models and partnerships for reaching consumers becomes increasingly important. During the third open enrollment period, MNsure, Minnesota’s state-based marketplace, designated and supported twenty broker-operated enrollment centers around the state, which made a series of special commitments to promote enrollment through the marketplace. Determining the efficiency and effectiveness of such efforts is critical for the planning and development of future efforts undertaken by marketplaces.
Tricky Problems with Small Numbers: Methodological Challenges and Possible Solutions for Measuring PCMH and ACO Performance
With health care providers increasingly being rewarded based on changes in cost of care, it is critical that sufficient statistical safeguards are in place to ensure that payment arrangements fairly reflect provider performance rather than random variation in medical utilization. The underlying changes in cost of care for populations served by patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs) are difficult to accurately assess when there are a small number of attributed patients.