Nov, 03, 2020

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Service announced a $3.9 million project funded through the CARES Act that offers retention payments to newly hired direct care workers. The goal is to hire and retain at least 2,000 new workers by December 30, 2020. Newly hired direct care workers are defined as individuals who have not worked as a direct care worker in home and community-based services for at least 60 days before the date of hire. Workers could receive up to $1,600 if they complete training and 300 hours of work by December 30.
  • Nebraska – As part of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) pandemic response, DHHS has worked with the Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Economic Development to purchase five walk-up and five drive-through freestanding COVID-19 testing sites from Pacific Engineering, Inc. The pods, called Rapid On Demand-Portable Medical Platforms, will expand the state’s ability to provide rapid testing during the cold weather season.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, designed to provide equitable access to approved vaccine(s), achieve maximum community protection and build public trust in advance of an approved vaccine(s).
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is now publishing data related to its statewide COVID-19 wastewater monitoring project. The project documents where the virus is detected in small- to medium-sized communities around the state. Currently there are 29 communities participating in the project. The map indicates whether COVID-19 is “detected” or “not detected” in a community. The monitoring serves as an early warning system for OHA to flag whether COVID-19 is spreading silently in communities and is intended to help public officials try to prevent potential outbreaks or move resources to a community.
  • Virginia – The Virginia Department of Health announced that its COVID-19 data website now includes an outbreaks in educational settings dashboard which shows a line list of outbreaks in Kindergarten through 12th grade schools by school name with associated case numbers and deaths. The dashboard shows current and previous outbreaks of COVID-19 in specific schools in Virginia and will help schools measure the extent to which the COVID-19 virus is spreading in their localities and guide possible responses to mitigate the spread.

Other State Updates

  • Indiana – CMS notified the state that it was approving Indiana’s request to extend its section 1115 demonstration project entitled, “Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP),” for ten years. CMS is only conditionally approving the state’s request to extend the community engagement and exclusions from eligibility components of its HIP demonstration, contingent upon the Supreme Court issuing a decision in Azar v. Gresham, that legally authorizes these elements of the proposed extension to the demonstration.
  • Maryland – The state’s official health insurance marketplace,, announced the launch of OEP with a reminder for consumers that the marketplace provides a one-stop shop for Marylanders to compare and select private health plans through December 15 for coverage that starts January 1, 2021. Health plan rates have dropped by an average of 31 percent since 2018. Also, in addition to CareFirst and Kaiser Permanente, a third health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, has returned to the marketplace, with plans in 14 counties.
  • Minnesota – Minnesotans can enroll in comprehensive health insurance coverage through, the state’s official marketplace, beginning Sunday, November 1, at 8 a.m. through December 22, 2020. MNsure-certified brokers and navigators are providing free enrollment help through virtual meetings, phone appointments or in-person meetings that follow the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. The marketplace has also extended the hours of MNsure’s contact center for open enrollment.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy kicked off OEP for Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace. The OEP begins November 1, 2020 and runs through January 31, 2021, six weeks longer than last year. New Jersey residents will no longer use to enroll in Marketplace health insurance plans. New state subsidies are available this year under a law signed by Governor Murphy, resulting in more financial help to lower the cost of health insurance for those who qualify under the ACA income thresholds. Nearly eight in ten people purchasing coverage on Get Covered New Jersey will qualify for state subsidies.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority have entered into a contract to support the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in addressing the health needs of American Indian/Alaskan Native Medicaid enrollees. This managed care entity is the first of its kind in the nation and will establish a new delivery system called the EBCI Tribal Option. The EBCI Tribal Option is a managed care option for federally recognized tribal members and other individuals eligible to receive Indian Health Services.
  • Oregon
    • Analysts in the Injury and Violence Prevention Section at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division found that Oregon saw a nearly 70 percent increase in the number of overdose deaths during April and May 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. There also was a nearly 8 percent increase in the number of overdose deaths during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.The preliminary data come from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS), which includes combined and abstracted data from medical examiners and death certificates.
    • The Oregon Health Authority has finalized the 2021 capitation rates for coordinated care organizations (CCOs). These rates are the per-member-per-month amounts the state pays CCOs to coordinate health care for Oregonians who are members of the Oregon Health Plan. The rate increase represents a 3.4 percent rate of growth for 2021.
  • Pennsylvania – Governor Wolf signed into law legislation that require health insurers that want to offer comprehensive health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania to verify that they have completed and fully documented analyses of their efforts to provide mental health and substance-use disorder coverage that is comparable to physical health services with respect to cost sharing, in- and out-of-network coverage, and other treatment limits. In addition to the verified analyses, insurers must make that documentation available to the Insurance Department, upon request, to demonstrate compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Documentation must also be available to policyholders and providers upon request.
  • Rhode Island – HealthSource RI, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, will offer an extended OEP from November 1, 2020 through January 23, 2021. HealthSource RI will be hosting a series of virtual events so that residents can learn about HealthSource RI’s offerings, connect with navigators or schedule enrollment support. Enrollment support will also be available at locations throughout the state through HealthSource RI’s navigator network of community organizations. Additionally, HealthSource RI will be offering live web chat services in English and Spanish.
  • Wisconsin – Grants totaling more than $3.1 million to increase access and enhance quality care in rural Wisconsin were announced by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The grants support education and training to assist rural hospitals and clinics in filling “high need, high demand” positions.