The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 as a signature effort to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. Included as part of the sweeping legislation is a program to fully subsidize COBRA coverage for six months starting in April of 2021. This expert perspective provides a short overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA, the major elements of the ARPA COBRA Assistance program, and considerations for state policymakers related to the program.
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.