State Health Updates
- California – Covered California, the state based exchange, issued a new report Coverage When You Need It: Lessons From Insurance Coverage Transitions in California’s Individual Marketplace Pre- and Post- the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report shows that as of June 2020, 1.53 million people were actively enrolled in Covered California, which represents the highest figure since the marketplace first opened in 2014.
- District of Columbia – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority Executive Board voted to extend DC Health Link’s small business open enrollment policy through calendar year 2022. This action enables small businesses to offer group coverage even if they cannot afford to pay 50 percent of their employees’ premium or they have fewer than two-thirds of eligible employees enrolling.
- Delaware – Governor John Carney, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information announced that COVID Alert DE will be interoperable with Pennsylvania’s exposure notification app, COVID Alert PA, which launched this week.
- Maryland – Governor Larry Hogan announced that state health officials are conducting a COVID-19 serology testing study for all professional and volunteer firefighters in Maryland. This initiative, currently active in seven jurisdictions, is a key part of the Maryland Department of Health’s ongoing statewide COVID-19 antibody study to determine how many Marylanders have been exposed to COVID-19.
- New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the formation of an independent Clinical Advisory Task Force comprised of leading scientists, doctors, and health experts who will review every COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government and will advise the state on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus. In addition, the Governor established a Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force that is charged with designing a COVID-19 vaccination administration program.
- North Carolina – North Carolina Medicaid enrollees on the NC Innovations Waiver (the state’s approved 1915(c) HCBS wavier) who are attending school virtually due to the COVID-19 public health emergency can now receive waiver support during remote learning. The CMS waiver approval is through an Appendix K, which allows states to submit requests to ease certain waiver requirements during federally declared emergencies. The modification was approved effective August 17, 2020, and will extend through March 13, 2021.
- Pennsylvania – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Department of Health Dr. Rachel Levine launched the COVID-19 exposure notification mobile app, COVID Alert PA, to help fight the spread of the virus. The technology, developed by Apple and Google, can detect if a person has been in close contact with another user who later tested positive for COVID-19 and will send a notification to the person’s phone. Since the app launched on Tuesday, there have been more than 70,000 downloads.
- Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam announced the expansion of the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP), which first launched at the end of June with $50 million in federal CARES Act funding to assist households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. Landlords can now apply to receive financial assistance for current and past-due rental payments dating back to April 1, 2020 on behalf of their tenants who qualify for RMRP.
Other State Updates
- Colorado – Governor Jared Polis, Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera and the Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) released a blueprint to reform the state’s behavioral health system. The BHTF engaged with communities to create the blueprint to make substance use and mental health services more accessible and affordable across the state.
- Delaware – The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance authorized four health care provider groups to serve as Medicaid ACOs. The ACOs are now authorized to negotiate and enter into agreements directly with the state’s two Medicaid MCOs.
- Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority announced the development of the agency’s first Diversity and Inclusion Council with the goal to create a fear-free culture within the agency. The Council will focus on four specific areas which include: messaging and metrics, attraction and recruitment, inclusion and retention, and community and partnerships.
- Pennsylvania – This week, Pennsylvania announced Pennie, the new state-based health insurance marketplace for 2021 coverage. Pennsylvanians can begin shopping for health and dental coverage through Pennie at the start of open enrollment on November 1, 2020 through January 15, 2021. Pennsylvanians currently enrolled through HealthCare.gov will be transitioned to Pennie for their 2021 coverage.
- Washington – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board announced the certified 2021 Qualified Health Plans and Qualified Dental Plans to be offered through Washington Healthplanfinder during the upcoming OEP taking place November 1 through January 15, 2021. This includes certification of new Cascade Care products, the state public option plans, available for the first time on Washington Healthplanfinder. For the first time in several years, there will be two or more carriers in every county in the state.
- Wisconsin – Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable and Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm joined with multiple stakeholders to send a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to call for an extension to the upcoming 2021 HealthCare.gov open enrollment period until the end of January 2021.