Apr, 08, 2022

State Health Updates

  • California – California is launching a statewide effort to help Medi-Cal (Medicaid) enrollees keep their Medi-Cal coverage or be enrolled in other coverage at the end of the public health emergency. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) launched a customizable Medi-Cal Continuous Coverage toolkit and webpage to help trusted entities and individuals act as DHCS Coverage Ambassadors to push communications to Medi-Cal enrollees to encourage them to update their contact information with their counties.
  • Colorado – Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, released a new report which attributes record enrollments this past open enrollment period to federal and state policy changes making health coverage more affordable. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gave people more premium tax credit assistance while Colorado’s Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise ran a program to give people more healthcare discounts when they use their plan.
  • Connecticut – Access Health CT (AHCT), the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced the opening of its fiscal year 2023 Navigator Grant Program. The program will allow AHCT to deepen its community relationships with the goal of engaging, educating, informing and enrolling individuals in health insurance throughout Connecticut, particularly in minority communities that experience significant health disparities and higher uninsured rates.
  • Georgia – Governor Brian P. Kemp signed into law the Mental Health Parity Act which requires health plans to cover mental health and substance use treatment at parity with physical health. The legislation (HB1013) also institutes an 85 percent minimum medical loss ratio requirement for Medicaid plans in the state. 
  • Minnesota – MNsure, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced that more than 1,100 residents used the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program to access over $6 million worth of insulin in 2021, according to a recent report from the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. For residents who are in immediate need of assistance, the urgent need program enables eligible Minnesotans to receive a 30-day supply of insulin right away at their pharmacy and pay no more than a co-pay, one time per year. (studybizz.com)
  • New Mexico
    • The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) announced that Medicaid home- and community-based service (HCBS) providers statewide will receive a 15 percent temporary reimbursement increase. HSD, with additional funding for HCBS through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is investing over $130 million in the first of three rounds of HCBS temporary economic recovery payments to providers.
    • The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) released details for the Health Insurance Marketplace Affordability Fund. The fund is authorized by Senate Bill 317, which allows the fund to be used to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs for New Mexicans who qualify for coverage on beWellnm, the state’s health insurance marketplace; reduce premiums for small businesses and their employees; provide resources for planning, design and implementation of healthcare coverage initiatives for uninsured New Mexico residents; and provide resources for administration of state healthcare coverage initiatives for uninsured New Mexico residents.
  • New York – The New York State Department of Health released its Quarterly County Opioid Report for April 2022 and announced key initiatives underway to fight opioid use statewide. As part of the state’s ongoing work to address the opioid crisis, the report provides actionable insights on the use of heroin and opioids to identify local trends and respond to those needs.
  • North Carolina – Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 256 to support the state’s ongoing fight against COVID-19 by providing flexibility for healthcare workers and care facilities, as well as easier access to vaccines, tests and treatments. The order extends provisions giving the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services secretary flexibility to take actions to increase the healthcare workforce and to ensure continuity of existing operations in the state’s hospitals, adult care homes, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.
  • Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has named Traylor Rains as the agency’s new state Medicaid Director, effective April 1, 2022. Rains succeeds long-time State Medicaid Director and Chief Operating Officer, Melody Anthony, who announced her intent to retire. Congratulations Traylor!
  • Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released the Texas STAR+PLUS managed care services request for proposals. The STAR+PLUS program, including the STAR+PLUS HCBS program, provides acute care services and long-term services and supports to the aged and disabled. Proposals are due by June 2, 2022, and awards are expected in January 2023. 
  • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is seeking public comment for its draft waiver request to CMS to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for an additional 30 days, which would extend the total coverage to three months. Interested parties can provide comments through May 6, 2022.
  • Maryland and New MexicoMaryland and New Mexico announced the expansion of Medicaid coverage for pregnant enrollees. Both states will extend the period during which enrollees are eligible for postpartum care services from 60 days to 12 months as of April 1. For more information on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) state option to extend postpartum coverage, see this SHVS issue brief.