In 2019, the Washington legislature enacted a bill requiring insurers on the state’s health insurance exchange to offer plans with standardized benefit designs, beginning in 2021. Colorado and Maryland are considering similar requirements. As these and other states consider the option of standardized health plans, they can benefit from the experiences of California, the District of Columbia (D.C.), Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, all of which require insurers to offer standardized benefit designs. This Expert Perspective outlines benefits and risks of plan standardization, and raises critical questions that states will need to consider, and offers a decision roadmap for states implementing a standardized benefit design requirement.
State Medicaid Buy-Ins: Key Questions to Consider
On Thursday, April 25, State Health and Value Strategies, with Manatt Health, hosted a webinar for states on six key questions that state policymakers need to consider when choosing a buy-in model, designing its features, and introducing a Medicaid buy-in program. Lawmakers across the country are considering “Medicaid buy-in” or public option programs to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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/public option is evolving, encompassing the original Medicaid-based proposals and extending to other programs through which states can leverage government bargaining power to offer a more affordable coverage option, like state employee health plans or a Basic Health Plan. During the webinar, speakers from Manatt Health discussed considerations related to (1) goal setting, (2) sources of cost-savings, (3) potential impacts on existing insurance markets, (4) federal 1332 waiver considerations, (5) implementation capacity, and (6) key steps for implementation. Additionally, representatives from Colorado, Connecticut, and Washington shared the status of efforts in their respective states.
State Health and Value Strategies has published a companion brief, State Medicaid Buy-Ins: Key Questions to Consider, that dives deep into the key questions that states pursuing Medicaid buy-in or public option models 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.