Expert Perspectives

Oct 1, 2020 

Exploring Strategies to Fill Gaps in Medicaid Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data

As states seek to address the social determinants of health and advance health equity, they face longstanding and persistent challenges in collecting complete, accurate, and consistent race, ethnicity and language (REL) data. This expert perspective provides an overview of current REL data collection standards; ideas for increasing completeness in data by engaging the enrollee and enrollment assisters, and modifying enrollment and renewal interface; and provides suggestions for how states could leverage alternative sources of data in order to improve REL data completeness.

Sep 24, 2020 

Maintaining Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Amid Postal Delays and Housing Displacements

In light of recent postal delays and housing displacements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis, and a wave of natural disasters across the country, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies face new challenges communicating with their enrollees about their health coverage. Acting now to mitigate these challenges is essential as states are preparing for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) and “catching up” on coverage renewals for a large portion of their enrollees. This expert perspective reviews strategies that state Medicaid and CHIP agencies may consider to help mitigate coverage losses.

Sep 11, 2020 

Updating the Essential Health Benefit Benchmark Plan: An Unexpected Path to Fill Coverage Gaps?

On August 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) approved new essential health benefit (EHB) benchmark plans for Michigan, New Mexico, and Oregon, bringing to five (with Illinois and South Dakota) the number of states that have revised their benchmarks in recent years. Although many stakeholders were concerned that new rules for EHB benchmark selection adopted in the 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) would result in less generous benefits, these five states have modestly enhanced their benefit packages to address perceived gaps in coverage. This expert perspective highlights the efforts in these five states and provide an overview of how other states can consider changing their EHB benchmark plans to enhance coverage.

Sep 1, 2020 

Adjusting Open Enrollment Outreach to Meet a New Moment

A new open enrollment landscape created by the continued health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national movement calling for racial justice, and the concurrent timing of a presidential election year is raising new challenges for states as they plan outreach and enrollment campaigns. Marketplaces are reimagining their campaign strategies to meet this moment, with plans to operationalize virtual activities, communicate with new and existing audiences, and reflect changing consumer behaviors in their outreach tactics. This expert perspective highlights strategies from SHVS’ 2-part webinar series on preparing for OEP 2021 and features several strategies states can pursue to help ensure a successful open enrollment period this year.