Feb, 02, 2024

State Health Updates

  • California – Covered California announced an extended deadline of February 9 to sign up for coverage for 2024. The deadline extension provides consumers the time and assistance they need following recent disruption to Covered California’s service center, which affected accessing representatives over the phone.
  • District of Columbia – The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) Executive Board voted to adopt a new benefits design to address health disparities for patients with heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. Starting in plan year 2025, individuals covered by a standard plan will no longer have copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for visits with their primary care doctor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular care. The DCHBX Executive Board also removed cost sharing for all generic prescription drugs and services related to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, as well as for laboratory tests and imaging.
  • Illinois – The Illinois Department of Human Services released a progress report on the Illinois Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative. The report details progress toward each of the recommendations in the Blueprint for Transformation: A Vision for Improved Behavioral Healthcare for Illinois Children, which was commissioned by Governor JB Pritzker in February 2022. 
  • Minnesota – The Minnesota Department of Commerce and DHS, in consultation with the Department of Health and MNsure, were directed by the state’s legislature to complete an actuarial and economic analysis of different public option models, including a public option that expands MinnesotaCare. The Department of Commerce published the recently completed report and recommendations to the state’s legislature. 
  • Missouri – The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services will host in-person town hall meetings across the state to gather feedback from local individuals on aging in Missouri. The meetings aim to ensure that Missouri’s Master Plan on Aging, a multi-sector initiative aimed at countering age and disability discrimination and ensuring access to person-centered programs and services, reflects the needs and wishes of its citizens. 
  • Nebraska – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities is releasing $506,000 in mini-grants to 36 providers of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). Through these mini-grants, DHHS aims to enhance the current workforce, thereby expanding the availability of HCBS services and improving the quality of services.
  • New Jersey – Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced the Department of Human Services has issued more than 132,000 doses of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone during the first year of its program allowing residents to obtain the medication free and anonymously at participating New Jersey pharmacies. 
  • North Dakota – North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is incentivizing new healthcare graduates and established health professionals to choose North Dakota as their career location through the department’s latest healthcare recruitment initiative, Love You to Stay. Through the initiative, partnering agencies connect healthcare professionals to promising career opportunities in North Dakota. In addition, health professionals serving rural areas and underserved populations can participate in North Dakota Health Service Corps student loan repayment programs. 
  • Oklahoma – SoonerCare members moving to SoonerSelect, Oklahoma’s new comprehensive health delivery system, can now choose their SoonerSelect health plans as of February 1. In addition to traditional SoonerCare benefits, each plan offers extra value-added benefits. Members must select a health plan by March 10; otherwise, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will enroll them in a plan on their behalf. 
  • Oregon – Governor Tina Kotek, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler each declared a 90-day state of emergency to address the public health and public safety crisis driven by fentanyl in Portland’s Central City. The tri-government fentanyl emergency declarations direct the city, county and state to commit available resources to a unified response, which includes standing up a command center where state, county and city employees will convene to coordinate strategies and response efforts.
  • Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services submitted its section 1115 demonstration waiver application, titled “Bridges to Success: Keystones of Health for Pennsylvania” to CMS. The waiver would provide Medicaid continuous coverage for children from birth, or when a child first enrolls in Medicaid, through the last day of the month in which they turn six years of age.
  • Wisconsin – Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #220 to create the Governor’s Task Force on the Healthcare Workforce. The task force will be charged with studying the workforce challenges facing the state’s healthcare system, including recruitment and retention, identifying ways to improve patient care and alleviate the burdens on the healthcare workforce, exploring educational and training pathways to grow a sustainable healthcare workforce, and creating an action plan with solutions related to workforce development, industry innovation, education, and training for consideration in the governor’s 2025-27 biennial budget.
  • Massachusetts, Oregon & Pennsylvania – As state Marketplaces published final numbers following the end of open enrollment, Massachusetts reported over 72,000 people enrolled in new health insurance plans, an increase of 40% compared to last year. In Oregon, enrollment increased by 2.4% over last year and in Pennsylvania nearly 435,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled, an increase of 17% compared to last year.