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.
Understanding the Fiscal Impact of COVID-19, the Economic Downturn, and Recent Policy Changes
On Thursday, June 4, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health presented key results from a financial model examining the Medicaid fiscal implications of the interaction between the COVID-19 pandemic, the emerging economic downturn, and recent policy changes.
States and Medicaid programs are entering a time of substantial fiscal uncertainty as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while also preparing for a potentially severe recession that is expected to lead to significant budget shortfalls and surges in Medicaid enrollment. At the same time, the federal government has authorized significant policy changes in response to these twin crises, including an increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate and the establishment of maintenance of effort and continuous coverage requirements, which require states to maintain coverage and benefits for any individual enrolled at the start of the federal disaster period. This confluence of factors is likely to have significant fiscal implications for state Medicaid programs. In the coming weeks and months, it will be critical for state budget officials, Medicaid policymakers, and other stakeholders to understand these implications in order to facilitate sound policymaking and resource allocation.
During the webinar, Manatt discussed key considerations for states as they develop their own internal forecasts and plan for the challenging times ahead. This webinar included a question and answer session during which webinar participants can pose their questions to the experts on the line.