Sep, 22, 2020

State Health Updates

COVID-19 Updates

  • Arizona – Given anticipated budgetary limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AHCCCS announced that it has elected to shift course and focus on a series of smaller-scale, cost-effective initiatives within the parameters of the existing Medicaid program and refrain from the pursuit of a broader Whole Person Care Initiative in conjunction with its five-year Section 1115 Waiver renewal request this December. The smaller-scale initiatives will include sourcing a new closed-loop referral system for providers to identify social risk factors and manage referrals and awarding a contract to a single statewide housing administrator to manage all AHCCCS permanent supportive housing subsidies, beginning October 2021.
  • Minnesota – The Department of Human Services released a bulletin announcing LTSS policy amendments related to the COVID-19 emergency. The bulletin provides information to lead agencies about policy amendments and instructions to implement amended LTSS policy related to assessment, reassessments and continuation of services to people during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through December 31, 2020.
  • North Carolina – The Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $35 million State Opioid Response grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for some individuals to access treatment for substance use disorder, North Carolina has experienced a spike in opioid overdoses. The grant will help the Department increase access to treatment and services.
  • Oregon and Washington – Governor Gavin Newsom announced that Washington and Oregon, members of the Western States Pact, will participate with California in piloting a project to test promising exposure notification technology. These states join other members of the Western States Pact, Colorado and Nevada, along with states and universities across the country, in piloting this technology, which will test the Exposure Notification Express mobile application pioneered by Google and Apple. The app confidentially notifies individuals who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

Other State Updates

  • California
    • Covered California announced that the statewide average rate increase for dental coverage in 2021 will be 2.3 percent, The standard benefits for all Covered California enrollees include dental coverage for children, but not for adults. Consumers can purchase optional family dental coverage as an “add-on” to their Covered California health plan.
    • Governor Gavin Newsom announced the first round of awards for Homekey, California’s $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing – including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Nearly $76.5 million was awarded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for 10 projects in seven California communities totaling 579 units.
  • Maryland – Governor Larry Hogan announced that Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane has approved an average 11.9 percentage premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans with an effective date of January 1, 2021. As a result, for the third consecutive year, all individual insurance rates in Maryland under the ACA will see significant decreases.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced $3.5 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 this year’s OEP. The increased investment is made possible by the state’s move to its own health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, for the upcoming year. New Jersey’s OEP will run from November 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
  • Oregon  
    • The Oregon Health Authority released the 2019 CCO Metrics Report which shares the results of Oregon’s pay-for-performance quality incentive program for their Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs). To earn their full incentive payment, CCOs must meet benchmarks or improvement targets on at least 12 of the 16 measures, achieve a performance goal related to enrollment in patient-centered primary care homes, and report data for two electronic health records metrics.
    • Governor Kate Brown convened the first meeting of the Racial Justice Council to address systemic racism in Oregon. The Council is an advisory group to the Governor with subgroups focused on criminal justice reform and police accountability, health equity, economic opportunity, housing and homelessness, environmental equity, and education. The council will provide principles and recommendations that center racial justice and economic recovery to the Governor to inform the 2021-2023 Governor’s Recommended Budget and legislative agenda.
  • Wisconsin – The Department of Health Services issued a press release announcing that Wisconsin callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are much more likely to speak with a Wisconsin-based counselor with the opening of a new Wisconsin call center funded by a grant from the Department.