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.
After a dynamic few weeks of negotiations, President Trump signed into law on December 27, 2020 a nearly 6,000-page legislative package (The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021) that includes government appropriations through September 30, 2021; COVID-19 relief funding and targeted policy changes, a subset of which impact health programs; extensions of expiring health programs; a ban on surprise billing; and an amalgam of odds-and-ends health policy provisions. This analysis includes a summary of those health care provisions.
In the waning days of 2020, Congress enacted a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and government funding bill. Included in the measure is the “No Surprises Act,” which contains new protections for consumers from surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers. State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Manatt Health, and tax expert Jason Levitis reviewed the provisions of this legislation and their implications for states. The webinar reviewed the No Surprises Act and provided an overview of the next steps for implementing the federal balance billing protections and what the law will mean for state-level protections. Additionally, presenters discussed a number of other key health care provisions, including state and locality funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing as well as policy changes to the Provider Relief Fund, and the impact of additional unemployment compensation and relief payments on eligibility for financial assistance for health coverage.
On Tuesday, December 15 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on how states can support children and youth with special health care needs during COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant health and economic hardships for many children and families. Children who receive health services in school settings to support their education are losing access to those services. In addition, a pre-COVID-19 shortage of home health providers has worsened due to the pandemic, placing a significant burden on families who rely on home health services. The result can lead to gaps in care and caregiver burnout, putting children and youth with special health care needs at risk of regression and long-term negative health outcomes. Recognizing these risks, states and the federal government have broadly expanded telehealth coverage, established continuous coverage requirements and eased regulatory requirements for delivery of services. The webinar, produced by Manatt Health with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Family Voices, and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, explored strategies for state Medicaid agencies to enforce coverage requirements and make permanent the temporary regulatory flexibilities that have expanded access to services during the pandemic.
On Friday, October 30, State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and GMMB reviewed the trajectory of 2020 Medicaid enrollment growth to date and provide effective strategies related to communication with members and coordination across state Medicaid agencies and Marketplaces to support coverage access and retention in this dynamic environment.
On Wednesday, July 22, State Health and Value Strategies hosted part II of the Preparing for OEP 2021 webinar series that provided a deep dive into effective strategies to consider as states design their outreach and education campaigns for OEP 2021 in a shifting health care environment. Presenters from GMMB explored how the impacts of COVID-19 should inform the marketplace’s tactical campaign approaches for virtual outreach and partnership engagement, digital and social platform usage, and paid advertising and earned media. Participants also heard insights from several state officials from state-based marketplaces along the way. Topics for discussion included coordinating with state agencies, engaging micro-influencers, leveraging social media live streams, hosting virtual enrollment events, developing advertising buys, and considering new earned media hooks. This webinar included a question and answer session during which webinar participants can pose their questions to the experts on the line.