Dec, 21, 2020

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • California – Covered California will extend the open-enrollment deadline of December 15 to give consumers through December 30 to sign up for coverage that begins on January 1, to help ensure that Californians get the care they need in the face of the increasing health crisis. The unprecedented extension comes as COVID-19 infections and deaths are surging across California and the country.
  • Connecticut – Access Health CT announced an extension for the 2021 Annual Open Enrollment period until January 15, 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, providing more time for Connecticut residents to get covered. In addition, Access Health CT customers who enrolled in a plan for 2021 now have the option to keep it or find a new plan.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard to help Michiganders track information about the vaccine across the state. The COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard includes data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry on the number of providers enrolled to provide the vaccine, the amount of vaccine received and doses administered. The dashboard will be expanded over the coming weeks to include vaccination coverage rates by age and race.
  • North Carolina
    • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will offer more than 300 no-cost, walk-up or drive through COVID-19 testing events over the next two weeks, including testing in partnership with new retailers in seven counties across the state. Retailers in seven counties are offering testing December 18 through 20 and December 26 through 27 in the parking lots of select Agri Supply, Carlie C’s IGA, Home Depot, Piggly Wiggly and Wegman’s stores. (
    • NCDHHS has selected 17 school districts and 11 charter schools to participate in a pilot program to deploy COVID-19 rapid testing in K through 12 public schools where any in-person instruction is happening. NCDHHS sent the selected districts and schools more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests. Students and staff will have access to more than 200 school-based testing locations across 17 counties as part of the pilot.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority finalized its recommendations for who will be the first to receive doses of new COVID-19 vaccines. With a focus on health equity, the plan adds more granularity to federal recommendations and outlines specific populations within the broad groups—and in a wide range of health settings—that should be the focus for vaccination given the limited availability of the vaccine.

Other State Updates

  • Colorado
    • The Colorado Division of Insurance is inviting stakeholders to a newly formed workgroup to advise in the evaluation of the state’s benchmark health insurance plan and any changes that should be made to it for the 2023 plan year. The benchmark plan is the plan used to set minimum standards for essential health benefits within the state for individual and small group plans. Colorado last updated its benchmark plan in 2015 for the 2017 plan year.
    • Connect for Health Colorado, the official health insurance marketplace for Coloradans, has formally launched a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). The PBC will offer health care ancillary products and services across the state as well as work to increase Coloradans’ health literacy. The new organization will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connect for Health Colorado and will be a separate entity from Connect for Health Colorado. 
  • Massachusetts – The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced is seeking feedback on a Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration waiver renewal request, which it plans to submit to CMS in the summer of 2021. The current waiver expires on June 30, 2022.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is inviting the public to comment on the Michigan Breastfeeding Plan. The first ever Breastfeeding Plan was released in 2017. MDHHS wants to assure public feedback is received regarding the next iteration of the Michigan Breastfeeding Plan. The Michigan Breastfeeding Plan will be released in early 2021.
  • Missouri – The Missouri Department of Social Services is soliciting public comments on the state’s Comprehensive and Community Support Medicaid waiver renewal applications as well as the Children with Developmental Disabilities and Partnership for Hope waiver amendment applications. The end of the public comment period is January 11, 2021.
  • Ohio – The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) was awarded the Pacesetter Prize by The SCAN Foundation in recognition of its continued efforts to improve the lives of older adults, people with disabilities, and their family caregivers across the state. ODM was specifically recognized for its leadership in transitioning people who need long-term services and supports out of institutions and back into the community.
  • Oregon
    • The Oregon Health Authority published a report that evaluates and compares proposed delivery models for a public option. The report was produced as a result of legislation signed into law in 2019 which directed the state to engage in an analysis to help policymakers develop policy around a public option or Medicaid buy-in model for Oregon.
    • Oregon Health Authority’s Climate and Health in Oregon 2020 report says natural disasters such as extreme storms, floods and wildfires continue to worsen, and disproportionately affect communities of color, tribal communities and lower-income people in the process. The report fulfills a directive to OHA in Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order on Climate Change which directs state agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the most vulnerable communities in Oregon from adverse effects of rapidly accelerating climate change.
  • Washington – Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced that as of December 16, about 210,000 Washingtonians have signed up for 2021 coverage, including almost 30,000 new customers. Among new customers, 41 percent have selected a Cascade Care plan. Cascade Care plans cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs.