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.
States Expanding Medicaid See Significant Budget Savings and Revenue Gains
Deborah Bachrach, Patricia Boozang, and Dori Glanz, Manatt Health Solutions
As some states continue to debate whether to implement Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, early results from those that have done so show the impact this decision has had on their state budgets. States that expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid are seeing big budgetary savings without reducing services. This report, prepared by Manatt Health Solutions, analyzes data from eight states, showing $1.8 billion in budget savings by the end of 2015 as a result of Medicaid expansion. The findings suggest that states expanding Medicaid should expect to see reduced state spending on programs for the uninsured and programs for high-cost patients, savings related to increased federal dollars for newly eligible Medicaid enrollees, and revenue gains related to existing insurer or provider taxes. In some states, budget savings could offset the cost of Medicaid expansion through 2021.