To explore enforcement considerations across potentially multiple state agencies, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on Thursday, November 4 at 1:00pm ET, during which experts from the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms and GMMB provided an overview of federal regulators’ proposed approach to enforcement of the NSA as well as shared strategies to consider in planning provider and consumer education efforts. The webinar also included presentations from three states on their enforcement approaches to the NSA: Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas, followed by a question and answer session.
Borrowing Proven Policy Strategies to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19: Lessons from Past Successes can Provide a Roadmap for Ensuring Equity in Immunization Efforts
With authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five and older, most kids in the United States are now eligible to be immunized. Recent experience with other vaccines shows the country is capable of vaccinating kids widely and equitably, but the challenges in vaccinating adults against COVID-19 and experiences with other immunizations in children, like the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), also demonstrate that success is not inevitable. To meet their COVID-19 vaccination goals to vaccinate kids against COVID-19, states can borrow strategies that have historically proved effective in immunizing kids against diseases such as measles and resulted in dramatic reductions in certain vaccination rate disparities. This issue brief highlights state strategies that have led to high childhood vaccination rates—and dramatic strides toward health equity—and identifies how those strategies could be applied in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis.
SHVS is tracking the latest federal guidance related to implementation and oversight of the No Surprises Act (NSA), the comprehensive federal law banning balance bills in emergency and certain non-emergency settings beginning January 1, 2022. This resource page highlights the latest SHVS resources for states on federal NSA guidance and summarizes its implications for state regulators.
Supporting Health Equity and Affordable Health Coverage for Immigrant Populations: State-Funded Affordable Coverage Programs for Immigrants
Access to affordable health coverage and healthcare for immigrant populations in the U.S. is critical to advancing health equity and reducing health disparities. This issue brief—the first in a series “Supporting Health Equity and Affordable Health Coverage for Immigrant Populations”—provides an overview of the national immigrant health coverage landscape and offers considerations for policymakers related to state-funded affordable coverage programs for low-income individuals who do not qualify for subsidized health insurance under the ACA or other public programs due to immigration status.
COVID-19, the resulting behavioral health crisis (including those related to mental health and substance use disorders), and calls for law enforcement reform related to behavioral health crisis response have heightened the urgency among federal, state, and local policymakers to expand access to behavioral health crisis services. Recently, the federal government has provided new funding opportunities to states to improve access to behavioral health crisis services, including mobile crisis services. As states review the opportunities available to begin, enhance, or expand mobile crisis intervention services under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, policymakers may further consider a hybrid funding model that provides mobile crisis providers with a consistent and steady stream of funding to ensure they are able to maintain 24/7 availability and respond in a timely manner to all individuals in crisis, regardless of insurance status. Such a new model for funding mobile crisis services could also be designed to hold payers accountable for covering mobile crisis services when their enrolled members use this essential resource. This issue brief presents a sustainable, hybrid coverage and funding approach for mobile crisis services.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has now released more information about how consumers can receive relief from repayment of excess advance premium tax credits for 2020 under the American Rescue Plan. The information is directly relevant to many 2020 marketplace consumers. While this provision will have a positive impact on marketplace consumers, it could also create confusion given the timing and will require some quick communications. Several state-based marketplaces (SBMs) have expressed interest in language that can be used to provide consumers with information about this new tax relief. State Health and Value Strategies has developed the following template language that SBMs can adapt and use in consumer-facing communications.
On March 11, President Biden signed an approximately $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill—the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“the American Rescue Plan,” ARPA). The American Rescue Plan includes myriad health care provisions, focused primarily in two areas: first, it provides funding the Biden administration requested to carry out its COVID-19 response plans; second, it enacts significant but largely temporary coverage policies. Although all health care coverage provisions of the bill are temporary, many will have a lasting impact. This timeline provides the start and end dates for key health care provisions to help states plan for implementation and future policymaking.
On Tuesday, March 23, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar to discuss how to best communicate with consumers and other stakeholders so residents can take full advantage of new financial help through the Marketplace, free COBRA plans, and more provided by the American Rescue Plan. The webinar was the third in a series that SHVS is hosting on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Experts from GMMB walked through key questions to consider, thoughts on audience segmentation, initial messaging and potential outreach tactics. We also heard from states on their real-time communication plans for rollout.
On Friday, March 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the first of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The bill is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The first webinar explored changes to private insurance, including Marketplaces. Tax expert Jason Levitis and Joel Ario from Manatt Health explored the premium tax credit changes and COBRA subsidy and outlined decision points for state policymakers and consumers.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets up a structure with key roles for both federal and state policymakers. From establishing a state-based marketplace to a temporary Maryland supplemental reinsurance program, Maryland has taken steps to make health insurance more affordable. This case study describes the measures taken by the state to improve affordability and coverage, identifies unique program design features, and discusses their bipartisan appeal as experienced in Maryland. Maryland’s efforts can serve as a helpful framework for other similarly situated states seeking to address pressing health coverage affordability issues.