Webinar: Overview of Medicaid Marketplace Premium Assistance Waiver Programs
Deborah Bachrach, Jocelyn Guyer, and Liz Osius, Manatt Health Solutions
As of January 27, 2015, two states have received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand Medicaid through private market-based coverage. These premium assistance programs have paved the way for the non-expansion states who continue to discuss how they might expand their Medicaid programs. These new models offer viable alternatives for covering previously uninsured populations while addressing those states’ concerns about some of the budgetary, political, and market challenges associated with traditional Medicaid expansion.
During a webinar hosted by State Coverage Initiatives and the State Health Reform Assistance Network, Manatt Health Solutions provided an overview of Medicaid Marketplace Premium Assistance and outlined the authorization vehicles through which a state may establish a program. The presentation also detailed the federal requirements for and operational implications of implementation with respect to: eligibility for the program, benefits and network adequacy, premiums and cost-sharing, shopping and enrollment, and interagency cooperation. John Selig, the Director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, also participated and offered Arkansas’ experience with implementation of their program. The webinar slides can be found at the “download” button and a webinar recording can be found here.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.
COVID-19 vaccines are now widely accessible in the United States and free to everyone over the age of 12. Given the spread of the Delta variant, there is an urgent need to increase vaccination rates, particularly among Medicaid enrollees. States across the country continue to report Medicaid enrollees are getting vaccinated at lower rates than the general population. This expert perspective explores how state Medicaid managed care programs and health plans can work collaboratively to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates for the more than 55 million Medicaid enrollees in comprehensive managed care plans.
Many states are looking to fill gaps in race and ethnicity data for Medicaid and related agencies. Working with the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, with support from the State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) program, New York tested multiple strategies aimed at encouraging applicants to answer the optional race and ethnicity questions. This expert perspective highlights an effort by New York’s official state-based marketplace, NY State of Health, to improve the completeness of race and ethnicity data that applicants share when applying for Medicaid; Child Health Plus, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Essential Plan, New York’s Basic Health Program (BHP); or Qualified Health Plan (QHP) coverage through its Marketplace.