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.
Changes in population-based payment models in health care delivery have spurred enhanced efforts toward closer integration between state purchasers of health care and state, county, and local public health officials. This issue brief, developed by Bailit Health Purchasing LLC and Dr. Karen Hacker, investigates approaches that state agencies might employ in order to better integrate public health and health care delivery as a means of improving health and the value of health care, and it is organized according to seven features of integration. The issue brief is accompanied by three case studies providing additional detail to some of the examples cited in the brief.
Medicaid and the Indian Health Service: New Guidance Explains How States May Secure Additional Federal Funds
Recent guidance released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in February 2016 increases the range of Medicaid services and providers for which states may claim full federal funding. States with significant American Indian and/or Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations stand to benefit from this increased federal Medicaid funding. This issue brief, developed by Manatt Health, summarizes the new policy expanding federal funding for state Medicaid services provided to AI/AN populations, and explains the ways in which these additional funds reduce the cost of Medicaid expansion for states.
Provider assessments, fees, and taxes are tools available to states to generate funds to cover the non-federal share of Medicaid payments. This issue brief, developed by the State Network team at Manatt Health, examines two revenue sources that states may utilize to fund the non-federal share of Medicaid expansion: provider assessments and provider donations. Both of these are authorized by federal law and have been used by states in connection with Medicaid expansion. The issue brief summarizes the rules regarding their use and describes the ways in which they have been utilized in several states.
In addition to the impact that state decisions to expand Medicaid have had on coverage rates across the country, there is an increasing body of evidence showing consistent economic benefits among these states. This report, prepared by Manatt Health, is an update to an April 2015 State Network report, and examines data regarding Medicaid expansion in eleven states, demonstrating that states continue to realize budget savings and revenue gains as a result of expanding Medicaid.