Expert Perspectives

Jul 27, 2015 

New resource from CMS on 1332 waivers

Last week, CMS published a new resource hub devoted to 1332 waivers containing links to regulations, FAQs, and fact sheets, as well as promise to issue more guidance “as additional questions and issues arise.” Also announced on the new page: the official email address for questions and completed applications is

Jun 25, 2015 

Supreme Court upholds key provision of the ACA

Thanks to today’s Supreme Court ruling, the Affordable Care Act and its promise to help Americans obtain affordable health coverage are here to stay. By a vote of 6-3, the majority held that Congressional intent was clear: qualified residents of all states, no matter what type of exchange they enroll in, are entitled to receive tax credits to help them afford health insurance.

Jun 5, 2015 

New Research Highlights Fiscal Implications of Medicaid Expansion

Recent research has demonstrated the degree to which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been instrumental in decreasing the uninsured rate across all states. This research also, however, draws attention to the substantial difference in coverage gains between states that have expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA, and those that have not. And decisions on whether to expand Medicaid can have a profound impact not only on coverage in a state, but can also carry with them significant financial implications. This has become increasingly clear with the most recent issue brief prepared for the State Network by Manatt Health Solutions.

May 21, 2015 

New Issue Brief Highlights Strategy for Increasing Enrollment through Enhanced Engagement with Brokers

In February, Galen Benshoof underscored the importance of agents and brokers in ensuring robust enrollment and exchange sustainability. Recognizing this, the State Network funded programs in Illinois and Minnesota, led by Wakely Consulting Group (Wakely), to enhance in-person agent and broker engagement while expanding their capability to assist anyone who walks through their doors, even if they are eligible for Medicaid or other state coverage programs. These Lead Broker Agency programs were a success, and the states are planning to continue or expand the programs next year!

A new issue brief, prepared by Kathie Mazza at Wakely, describes the concept of these pilots and outlines how other states interested in partnering with insurance brokers can implement similar initiatives for future open enrollment periods.

May 15, 2015 

New Issue Brief on Student Health Plan Regulation

Student health plans have long been a source of coverage for college students who do not have other options available. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services redefined student health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), requiring that they be treated like individual health insurance. This means that students buying these plans through their college or university now have the same protections available to them as if they bought a plan in the individual market. It also means that states and the federal government have a new role in oversight of these plans.

Mar 2, 2015 

We Remember Andy Hyman

The State Network team mourns the recent passing of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Hyman. Andy was the father of the State Network, seeing the value in connecting states with the expertise they need to achieve the vision of coverage that drove him every day.

Feb 26, 2015 

Sebelius Highlights ACA Successes in Princeton Appearance

In a recent appearance at the Woodrow Wilson School, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius spoke about “The Future of Health Care in America.” Her discussion highlighted several aspects of the Affordable Care Act, which she described as one of the most significant policy achievements in recent history. The State Network team at Princeton had an opportunity to speak with Secretary Sebelius, and to share insights from some ongoing work in the states.

Feb 16, 2015 

Agents and Brokers are Key to Exchange Sustainability

Integrating agents and brokers into the ACA’s plan enrollment and renewal process, familiarizing them with public insurance programs, and generally helping them grow comfortable with the health law will go a long way toward stabilizing the exchanges for years to come.

Feb 13, 2015 

Decision Support Tools for Marketplace Coverage

This week, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference on the topic of Marketplaces. I was privileged to join Dr. Mandy Cohen from CCIIO and Professor Mark Hall of Wake Forest University in a discussion of trends moving forward in Marketplace competition, moderated by Dr. John McDonough of Harvard. The key takeaway was that the theme of the next open enrollment will be decision support tools for consumers to choose the best plan for them.