The American Rescue Plan: An Overview of Private Insurance Provisions
Jason Levitis and Manatt Health
On Friday, March 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the first of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan package. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The legislation is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Health coverage programs will see the largest changes since the Affordable Care Act, with provisions that will strengthen Medicaid and CHIP, drastically increase affordability in the marketplace, create new coverage opportunities for those that lost jobs, and provide significant federal funding to support states and localities.
The first webinar explored changes to private insurance, including Marketplaces. Tax expert Jason Levitis and Joel Ario from Manatt Health explored the premium tax credit changes and COBRA subsidy and outlined decision points for state policymakers and consumers. The second webinar, The American Rescue Plan: An Overview of Medicaid Provisions and State/Local Relief, took place on Tuesday, March 16 and will review key Medicaid provisions and state/local relief funding included in the COVID-19 relief package.
The third webinar, The American Rescue Plan: Communicating Affordability Provisions, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23 and will discuss how to best to communicate with consumers and other stakeholders so residents can take full advantage of new financial help through the Marketplace, free COBRA plans, and more provided by the American Rescue Plan.
On December 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published and made effective an interim final rule (IFR) with comment period regarding states’ ongoing unwinding efforts to redetermine eligibility for all Medicaid enrollees nationwide. This expert perspective summarizes the IFR, which interprets and implements the state reporting requirements and CMS enforcement authorities that Congress enacted last winter in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.
The 11th annual open enrollment period (OEP) is underway, providing consumers with an opportunity to enroll in health coverage for plan year 2024 through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. To support consumers during this OEP, State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) are innovating to make health coverage more affordable and easier for consumers to enroll. This expert perspective highlights new initiatives being implemented by SBMs during the plan year 2024 OEP, including establishing or improving state subsidy programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs, expanding coverage for undocumented populations, or implementing policies to improve the enrollment process.
As the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement continues, both states and the federal government are tracking and monitoring the impacts of the resumption of eligibility redeterminations and disenrollments. Given the time-lags and caveats of CMS data, many states are publishing their own state data dashboards. To date, 46 states (including the District of Columbia) have released unwinding data in either an interactive dashboard or static pdf format, or are making public their required CMS Monthly Unwinding Data reports. This expert perspective includes an interactive map with links to state reporting, as well as a table tracking the unwinding indicators and disaggregated data that states are reporting on. SHVS will continue to update this EP as more states publish their unwinding data.