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.
Strategies for Supporting and Strengthening Medicaid Information Technology During the COVID-19 Crisis
Alice Lam and Elizabeth Dervan, Manatt Health
As states face the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, information technology (IT) is an essential tool to support access to health coverage and the safe and effective evaluation, testing, and treatment of patients nationwide. Under the current statutory and regulatory framework, state Medicaid agencies are authorized to receive federal funding for Medicaid IT and associated activities, and much of it at an enhanced federal matching level. Medicaid IT and associated activities eligible for support comprise the development, implementation and operations of states’ vast Medicaid program administrative systems and state Medicaid agency activities to facilitate adoption of electronic health records and exchange of health information by health care providers.
This issue brief outlines potential IT investments in responding to COVID-19 and strategies for states to support these investments, and to secure current and future IT investments that enable ongoing Medicaid program operations and advance health information exchange. The issue brief also highlights the Medicaid authorities and the provisions that may allow states more expeditious access and flexible use of these funds during the ongoing public health emergency and in retooling the Medicaid delivery system in this new era of pandemic.
SHVS is also hosting a companion webinar to this issue brief on Thursday, May 21.