Expert Perspectives

Jun 30, 2020 

An Early Look at State Budget Actions in Response to COVID-19 and the Impact on State Health Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that has triggered an economic crisis. While the federal government acted to provide financial relief, states have faced significant growth in expenditures in response to the pandemic, as well as simultaneous and severe drops in revenue. This expert perspective provides a snapshot of how states are navigating the known and unknown fiscal challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, given declining revenues and rising spending demands in the context of balanced budget requirements. The strategies that states employ to address the fiscal fallout of COVID-19, will have significant and long-lasting implications for critical health care and safety net programs.

Jun 29, 2020 

Equitable Recovery Strategies

As state officials shift their focus towards loosening social distancing policies and reopening, they must now grapple with balancing both economic and public health concerns while also considering how reopening policies will impact residents in very different ways, possibly mitigating or exacerbating preexisting disparities. This expert perspective provides a survey of actions that state and local governments have taken to intentionally incorporate equity into their recovery and reopening policies.

Jun 25, 2020 

Update on Federal Mandates to Cover COVID-19 Testing Services: New Guidance for States, Plans, and Insurers

The Departments of Health & Human Services, Labor, and Treasury (collectively, the “tri-agencies”) published guidance on April 11 in attempt to clarify some of the testing coverage requirements under FFCRA and the CARES Act. However, as calls have increased for more widespread and frequent testing, particularly of at-risk populations such as health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and people potentially exposed at protests or rallies, insurers have questioned their responsibility to cover all testing in all circumstances.On June 23, the tri-agencies published new guidance that attempts to answer implementation questions from states, plans, and insurers, including the definition of “medically necessary”, surveillance or workplace related testing, coverage of hospital “facility fees”, and protections against provider balance billing.

Jun 23, 2020 

Addressing Equity through COVID-19 Response: Communications Approaches in States

This expert perspective highlights examples employed by DC Health Link, the Oregon Health Authority, and beWellnm and the community-centered outreach they are using to actively enroll and connect consumers to care.  The expert perspective also includes best practices surfaced for marketplaces and agencies to adapt their COVID-19 communications and outreach—and beyond—to ensure those with inequitable access to health coverage are prioritized and supported.

Jun 19, 2020 

Advances in States’ Reporting of COVID-19 Health Equity Data

This expert perspective provides an update on states’ reporting of health equity data related to cases, mortality, hospitalizations, and testing and new state activity related to data collection, including examples of collecting additional data measures and creating taskforces to advance health equity. The post also provides a summary of CARES Act reporting requirements related to testing.