With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) ninth open enrollment period (OEP) set to launch in less than a month, the ACA Marketplaces are seeing record enrollment numbers with more generous subsidies, new carrier competition, and a relatively stable rating environment. At the same time, there is uncertainty with the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and medical costs trending upward as the economy recovers, albeit at an uneven pace. These trends have made for a challenging rate review process in the 47 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) that conduct their own ACA rate reviews of carrier-proposed rates using federal review standards. State announcements of 2022 rates have trickled out at a slower pace than in prior years, and it is likely that many states will not publish their approved rates until the beginning of open enrollment. As always, state rate results vary widely and, even within states, there often are substantial variations among carriers and across different regions in geographically diverse states. With these caveats, this expert perspective highlights some observations about the factors that are impacting rate changes this year and the kind of variations that exist among states.
State Medicaid Buy-Ins: Key Questions to Consider
Patricia Boozang, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, and Kyla Ellis, Manatt Health
Lawmakers across the country are considering Medicaid buy-in programs to stabilize the Affordable Care Act insurance market and offer a coverage option that is more affordable and accessible than current options in the individual and employer markets. The concept of Medicaid buy-in is evolving, encompassing the original Medicaid-based proposals and extending to other programs through which the state can leverage its government bargaining power to offer a more affordable coverage option, like state employee health plans or a Basic Health Plans. Some refer to this evolving model as Medicaid buy-in, while others label it a “public option,” particularly for state-sponsored plans in the marketplace.
So far in the 2019 legislative session, more than 10 states have introduced legislation to study or implement a buy-in. The purpose of this issue brief is to identify the key questions that states pursuing these initiatives will want to consider as they seek to design and implement their proposals.
The State Health Policy Highlight, State Considerations for Medicaid Buy-In Proposals, provides a checklist summarizing the key questions, which are laid out in greater detail in the underlying issue brief.