State Health Updates
- California – Covered California, the state-based exchange, teamed up with Bay Area Mayors to encourage all Californians to sign up for health insurance and take safety precautions during this current surge in COVID-19 infections. The effort comes as a record 1.6 million Californians had either renewed their coverage or selected a plan during open enrollment for health insurance coverage starting January 1, 2021, including nearly 320,000 in the Greater Bay Area. The total represents an increase of almost 200,000 (14 percent) over the same time period last year.
- District of Columbia – DC Health Link, the District’s official health insurance marketplace, hosted a week of action to accelerate outreach efforts to promote, educate and motivate Hispanics to enroll in quality, affordable health insurance, especially during the pandemic.
- The Massachusetts Health Connector, the state-based marketplace, is extending open enrollment until March 23, providing additional time for state residents to access affordable, quality health insurance, particularly those hurt by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
- The Baker-Polito Administration announced the expansion of more vaccine locations in the Commonwealth to boost the capacity to administer vaccines. Massachusetts is launching the COVID-19 CDC Pharmacy Partnership – Phase 1 with CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies. Starting this week, the program will deliver a total of 10,000 doses to at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies a week for eligible residents in the phase one priority groups.
- Minnesota – MNsure, the state-based based marketplace, announced that more than $500,000 from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be used to provide equipment and technology to help at-risk American Indians access primary care and supportive services that keep them safe at home. Blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and technology that supports telehealth and behavioral health visits will be provided to elders from Indigenous communities in Minnesota to protect them at home until they can be vaccinated.
- New York – As part of New York’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the open enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, the state-based marketplace, or directly through insurers.
- North Carolina – The NC Department of Transportation and the NC Department of Health and Human Services announced that approximately $2.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding is being distributed to local transit agencies across the state to help pay for rides for individuals who need transportation assistance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Washington – Governor Jay Inslee announced an updated statewide vaccine distribution and administration plan to increase the number of Washingtonians vaccinated and establish infrastructure capable of mass vaccinations in the coming months. Included in the plan is the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, a new statewide public-private partnership to boost vaccine distribution efforts. The collaboration includes Washington corporations, labor unions, health care groups and government entities.
Other State Updates
- Colorado – Connect for Health Colorado, the state-based marketplace, announced that nearly 180,000 Coloradans signed up for a health insurance plan by the end of the open enrollment period. This is about eight percent above last year’s end of open enrollment total. Of those customers who enrolled in a 2021 plan, 69 percent qualified for financial help to reduce their monthly premium.
- Minnesota – MNsure, the state-based marketplace, is reminding residents who face difficulty affording their insulin to apply for the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program. Residents who are in urgent need can apply for the Urgent Need Program to receive a 30-day supply of insulin immediately for no more than $35.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that Legal Aid of North Carolina will provide Medicaid managed care Ombudsman services for the state’s Medicaid enrollees. Beginning this spring, Legal Aid will partner with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Pisgah Legal Services to educate and inform enrollees about the state’s move to managed care through outreach events, a public website and a toll-free phone number.
- Pennsylvania – The Interagency Health Reform Council, charged with evaluating the Commonwealth’s health care payment and delivery systems, presented its Health Care Reform Recommendations to the governor. Among the recommendations is the creation of a Health Value Commission to institute a health care cost growth benchmark and several recommendations aimed at addressing health equity.