Oct, 19, 2021

State Health Updates

  • Colorado
    • The state announced that CMS approved the Colorado health insurance plan that will set the minimum health care coverage requirements starting in 2023. The plan establishes the essential health benefits (EHBs) within Colorado for individual plans and small group plans and will require these plans to cover gender affirming services for transgender individuals as well as annual mental wellness exams and additional non-opioid pain medications. The plan will address substance use disorder by expanding the number of drugs that insurance companies are required to cover in their prescription drug formularies as alternatives to opioids, as well as adding acupuncture treatments. Colorado is the first state in the country to explicitly include gender-affirming care services in its plan.
    • The Colorado Division of Insurance is requesting public review and comment on its Section 1332 waiver amendment request. The waiver amendment request aims to make the Colorado Option available to all Coloradans who buy their health insurance on the individual market and small employers with less than 100 employees starting in 2023. As part of the Colorado Option, the Division of Insurance will create a standardized plan which will allow consumers and businesses to easily compare plans and choose the plan that is right for them. This plan will cover all essential health benefits required by the ACA, provide high value services without consumer cost sharing, and be designed to reduce racial health disparities and improve health equity. Comments will be accepted until November 15, 2021.
  • Delaware – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) and Division of Developmental Disabilities Services announced immediate efforts to stabilize and strengthen the home and community-based services workforce across Delaware. The state will make targeted payments to recruit and retain the Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the state. Each new DSP, employed on or after May 1, 2021, and existing DSPs who were employed prior to April 30, 201, who works or worked a minimum of 25 hours a week could receive a recruitment payment of up to $1,000.
  • Minnesota  
    • Governor Tim Walz announced a further extension of the “Safe Travels, Minnesota” vaccine incentive partnership with Sun Country Airlines encouraging Minnesotans to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Minnesotans who get their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the state’s vaccination clinic at the MSP Airport from October 8 through December 29 can enter into a weekly drawing for a $200 travel voucher through Sun Country Airlines.
    • Governor Tim Walz also announced a comprehensive COVID-19 action plan to relieve Minnesota’s increasingly crowded hospitals and provide new rapid testing opportunities for Minnesota families. The governor is putting the National Guard on alert to provide staffing support at Minnesota’s long-term care facilities and expanding access to the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool, which allows long-term care facilities to request short-term emergency temporary staffing if they’re experiencing a staffing shortage due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at their facility. The action plan also directs the Department of Human Services to free up capacity at state long-term care facilities.
  • New Jersey
    • Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced nearly $4 million in grant funding for community organizations to serve as state Navigators to provide free outreach, education, and enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health insurance during Open Enrollment Period. The administration is increasing its investment in Navigators this year by nearly half a million dollars, and expanding the number of awardees, to help consumers enroll in quality, affordable health insurance.
    • The New Jersey Department of Human Services is working with leading community organizations and state agencies to strengthen access and improve cultural competency and language access to traumatic brain injury services among Black, Latino(a), and other people of color and non-English speaking communities. The initiative is supported by a cooperative agreement with the HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1.7 million over five years.
  • New York – Governor Kathy Hochul announced 21 new #VaxtoSchool pop-up vaccination sites to increase vaccination rates among school-aged New Yorkers. The Department of Health is working with local county health departments, community-based organizations, and health care centers on-the-ground to support the establishment of these sites in all regions of the state. Partners, host sites, and outreach efforts are tailored to the communities they are built to serve. New locations are established on a rolling basis in partnership with localities, and more sites will be announced each week over the 12-week period.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide more statewide demographic data for COVID-19 vaccinations. Users will be able to see vaccination rates by race and ethnicity for age groups. The information will be displayed on a new tab named “Additional NC Demographic Data” on the dashboard. As a reminder, SHVS has an expert perspective tracking state reporting of COVID-19 vaccine data by health equity categories, including race, ethnicity, age, and gender.
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced funds will be made available to promote racial and geographic equity in the COVID-19 response. DHS was awarded $27 million by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to combat inequities related to COVID-19 infection, illness, and death, including $9 million dedicated to rural communities. In a separate appropriation, an additional $13 million in funding has been set aside to continue the Vaccine Community Outreach grant program, which funds organizations across Wisconsin to increase vaccinations by serving as trusted messengers within their communities, build vaccine confidence, and reduce barriers that hinder vaccine access for populations who have been historically marginalized or underserved.