In recent months, states have increasingly introduced proposals for individuals above Medicaid eligibility levels to “buy-in” to Medicaid or leverage the Medicaid program to strengthen coverage across the individual market and Medicaid. State Health and Value Strategies is tracking current state activity and has mapped out which states are pursuing a program and those that are establishing task forces to understand the impact of a Medicaid buy-in program.
Several recent federal court decisions have held that the federal government owes insurers billions in cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. The Administration cut off those payments in October 2017, after efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed in Congress. Insurers promptly sued, arguing that the government had breached its statutory obligation to compensate insurers for offering the mandated low cost-sharing plans. Of note, the court decisions suggest that the government continues to owe these CSR payments even though most insurers were able to mitigate their losses by increasing plan premiums in 2018 and beyond. Because this litigation is almost certain to carry over into 2020 or beyond, this Expert Perspective post suggests that states not change their approach to insurers’ rating practices for 2020. However, states should consider what their approach should be if insurers do prevail in the litigation and states have an opportunity to recoup what otherwise would be a windfall for insurers.
In the absence of federal legislation, states are actively seeking tools to reform their health care systems. While 1115 waivers rightly get a lot of attention, because of their ability to reshape state Medicaid programs, the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1332 waivers continue to be a promising avenue for states to stabilize their health insurance marketplace. SHVS is tracking state activity and has many resources, including a template, for states interested in pursuing a Section 1332 waiver.