In light of recent postal delays and housing displacements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis, and a wave of natural disasters across the country, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies face new challenges communicating with their enrollees about their health coverage. Acting now to mitigate these challenges is essential as states are preparing for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) and “catching up” on coverage renewals for a large portion of their enrollees. This expert perspective reviews strategies that state Medicaid and CHIP agencies may consider to help mitigate coverage losses.
Targeted Options for Increasing Medicaid Payments to Providers During COVID-19 Crisis
Anne Karl, Jocelyn Guyer and Avi Herring, Manatt Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in utilization that threaten the financial stability of providers and may jeopardize access to care during and after the national emergency. With elective cases generally cancelled, hospitals have sharply lower utilization and revenue. Between March and August 2020, a combination of lost revenue related to fewer elective procedures and emergency department/outpatient encounters, and higher costs related to COVID-19 has put many hospitals in a precarious financial position. In addition, many other providers that rely on face-to-face visits have seen large utilization declines due to social distancing requirements, with outpatient visits falling 60 percent in April 2020. As of July 2020, outpatient visits remain 10 percent below the pre-COVID-19 baseline, even after accounting for the increased use of telemedicine. Most of the Provider Relief Fund dollars have been distributed, yet providers are still experiencing lost revenue and increased costs related to COVID-19. Under any scenario, Medicaid payment strategies—especially for providers serving high numbers of Medicaid patients—remain a critical tool for states to support providers as new COVID-19 hotspots emerge and utilization patterns change. This toolkit has been updated as of August 26, 2020 to reflect more recent federal guidance and examples of specific strategies states implemented between April and August 2020.
SHVS also hosted a companion webinar, the slide deck for which has been updated as of August 26, 2020.