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Health Reform Highlights

Welcome to KidsWell’s Health Reform Highlights! This page is updated weekly with the latest health care reform activity across the nation!

 

This website provides the most up-to-date, comprehensive information on children's coverage and healthcare reform implementation in all fifty states and nationwide.

 

To find out more about what’s happening in each state, click on State Spotlight. Go to Federal Focus for federal health care reform news and national children’s health insurance coverage data. Check out the National Snapshot maps to get fifty state comparison maps of major health reform news and trends. Finally, search the Health Reform Hub, which has over 4,000 state and federal health care reform and children’s coverage news entries!

 

The Wolverine State’s Medicaid expansion plan is roaring! Michigan’s Medicaid expansion initiative, the Healthy Michigan Plan, enrolled nearly 86,000 Michiganders in its first week! Find out what other states are up to with KidsWell’s health reform highlights below.


For a printer-friendly version of this report, click here.

Implementation and Opposition

  • Arkansas: Marketplace Board Convened to Discuss Key Decisions for Transition to SBM

    The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board convened to discuss key decisions necessary for the state’s transition from a Partnership Marketplace to a state-based Marketplace. Other meeting agenda items included a presentation from Heather Howard, Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Health Reform Assistance Network, on ACA implementation lessons and an update on state enrollment through the federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM). As of April 7, 41,401 individuals with incomes above 138% of the federal poverty level had enrolled in coverage, representing 16.2% of the target population in Arkansas.
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  • California: LA Times Reported Backlog of 800,000 Medicaid Applications

    The Los Angeles Times reported a backlog of 800,000 applications for Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid Program). According to the article, the Department of Health Care Services noted that the backlog was caused by technical issues affecting the communications between state and county-based computer systems. In Los Angeles County alone, the technical issues caused a backlog of more than 200,000 applications. Applicants with pending applications may request temporary Medi-Cal coverage.
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  • DC: Exchange Extended Enrollment Deadline, Offered In-Person Health Insurance and Tax-Filing Assistance

    The D.C. Health Link announced an enrollment extension for consumers who were unable to complete the application process by March 31.  D.C. residents who need help applying or started their applications online now have until April 15 to complete their enrollment. In addition,  the Exchange is offering six locations where residents can receive both in-person health insurance and tax-filing assistance before April 15.
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  • Delaware: Health Care Commission Discussed Marketplace Outreach and Enrollment Updates

    The Delaware Health Care Commission discussed outreach and enrollment updates for ChooseHealth Delaware (Delaware’s Partnership Marketplace). Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, noted that 14,746 residents enrolled in Marketplace coverage as of March 31. Of the individuals that enrolled, 11,335 sign up for qualified health plans and 3,411 signed up for Medicaid.
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  • Maine: Governor LePage Vetoed Medicaid Expansion Bill, Legislature Unable to Override Veto

    Governor Paul LePage vetoed LD 1487, a bill that would have expanded Medicaid and shifted the program to managed care. In his veto letter, the Governor reiterated his position that further growth in publicly funded health insurance programs would be “ruinous.” The Legislature failed in its third attempt to secure a two-thirds majority in both chambers override the Governor’s veto.
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  • Massachusetts: Health Connector Board Discussed Open Enrollment Updates and Website Fixes

    The Massachusetts Health Connector (Massachusetts’ State-Based Marketplace) Board discussed open enrollment data and updates on website fixes. The Board noted that 769 individuals enrolled in subsidized health plans, 29,755 enrolled in unsubsidized health plans, and 192,432 enrolled in MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid Program). In addition, the Board discussed areas of focus for ongoing website fixes, which include testing the Connector’s eligibility determination functionality, transitioning members to new programs, and identifying a long-term solution to the website’s technical issues.
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  • Michigan: Healthy Michigan Plan Enrolled 86,000 in First Week

    Governor Snyder reported in a press release that 85,761 individuals enrolled in the first week of the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s Medicaid expansion initiative. Michigan Medicaid received a total of 54,479 applications and enrolled 32,071 Michiganders. Michigan transitioned 53,929 individuals from the Medicaid Adult Benefits Waiver population into the Healthy Michigan Plan and brought the total enrollments to near 86,000.
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  • Minnesota: MNsure Legislative Committee Announced Will Conduct Comprehensive Audit of the State’s Exchange

    At a MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee meeting, Legislative Auditor James Noble announced he will expand his review of MNsure to additionally address: to what extent MNsure has reduced the number of Minnesotans without health insurance; the source of initial enrollment problems and additional costs incurred to resolve them; and, the effectiveness of outreach and marketing effort, according to MPR News. The Legislative Auditor’s office is already conducting two limited examinations of MNsure that began in January. MNsure also provided: updated enrollment metrics, details regarding the special enrollment period, and the 2015 preliminary budget and budget overview.

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  • Minnesota: MNsure Selects Deloitte Consulting as New Lead IT Vendor

    MNsure announced that they have selected a new lead IT vendor to stabilize and enhance the functionality of MNsure. According to the Star Tribune, people with knowledge of the bidding process confirmed that Deloitte Consulting is the chosen vendor. On March 3, seven companies responded to a request for proposal (RFP) issued by MNsure on February 9 soliciting a new lead IT vendor: the  full list  is available from MPR News. MNsure also posted questions and answers associated with the RFP following submission of the proposals.
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  • Nevada: Silver State Exchange Board Discussed Enrollment and Sustainability Plans

    The Silver State Exchange Board discussed recruitment of the new executive director, final enrollment statistics, and Exchange technical improvements by Xerox and Deloitte following a rocky initial enrollment period. The board also received recommendations regarding the adoption of 2015 PMPM fees to fund Marketplace activities. Staff presented three options for QHP fees based on three different projected enrollments for the year.
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  • New Hampshire: Health Exchange Advisory Board Discussed Medicaid Expansion

    The New Hampshire Health Exchange met to discuss several issues including an update on the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (the state’s Medicaid expansion proposal) and details surrounding the end of open enrollment.  The Board also discussed special enrollment periods for consumers unable to sign up for insurance through the federal exchange and the process to complete open enrollment for those individuals.
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  • New York: CMS Approved $8 Billion Medicaid Waiver Amendment

    Governor Cuomo announced the approval of a federal waiver amendment to reinvest $8 billion in savings generated by the State's Medicaid Redesign Team efforts over five years.  The funds will include: $6.42 billion for Delivery System Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP), to support provider projects targeted at reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent; $500 million for an Interim Access Assurance Fund, to provide temporary, time-limited funding to safety-net providers and allow them to participate in DSRIP; and $1.08 billion for other Medicaid redesign purposes, including Health Home development and investments in long-term care, workforce initiatives, and enhanced behavioral health services.  The Department of Health has scheduled public hearings on the waiver amendment and a proposed extension, and is gathering comments on the DSRIP special terms and conditions, funding and mechanics, and DSRIP strategies and metrics "menu."
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  • Ohio: Office of Health Transformation Announced 106,238 Newly Eligible Adults Have Enrolled in Medicaid

    Ohio’s Office of Health Transformation issued a press release  announcing that from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, 345,299 individuals applied for Medicaid. From this group, 180,877 Ohioans enrolled, of whom 106,238 were newly eligible as a result of Ohio expanding its Medicaid program. Approximately 563,000 Ohioans are estimated to be newly eligible for Medicaid.
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  • Utah: Governor Herbert Signed Bills Related to Medicaid Expansion

    Governor Herbert  signed House Bill 141 and House Bill 401 into law. The final language for House Bill 141, strikes all clauses related to establishing the "Access Utah Program," which would cover a proportion of the 54,000 Utahans with incomes at or below 100% FPL using state funding. The final language for House Bill 401 requires the Health Reform Task Force to review the impact of implementing various Medicaid expansion proposals considered during the 2014 Legislative Session, and to coordinate these evaluations with Governor Herbert, the Department of Health, and CMS. Governor Herbert is continuing to work with the federal government to assist in providing coverage for approximately 110,000 low-income Utahans, outlined in his "Healthy Utah Plan."
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  • Vermont: Marketplace Released Navigator RFP

    The Department of Vermont Health Access, the state agency that oversees the state’s Marketplace – Vermont Health Connect -- released a request for Navigators to assist in the next open enrollment period.  Entities can apply for up to $100,000 or for $100,000 – $200,000 in grant funding to support all efforts from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015.  Applications are due April 25, selections will be announced May 14, and the grants will commence July 1.
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  • Virginia: Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission Discussed Medicaid Reform Implementation

    The Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission held a meeting to discuss Virginia’s progress on pursuing and implementing Medicaid reforms that are prerequisites to its authorization of expansion in the Commonwealth.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Health and Human Resources Secretary William Hazel testified that Virginia had fulfilled those requirements, but Commission members, including Vice Chairman Delegate Steven Landes (R), disagreed.  While the Commission is currently empowered to authorize expansion if the preconditions are met, the House and Senate have simultaneously been at odds over expanding Medicaid directly through the budget process.  According to the Daily Press, the Senate passed a budget bill that would expand Medicaid through a premium assistance program called Marketplace Virginia that is opposed by the Republican-controlled House, shortly before the both chambers recessed from their special session without a budget agreement or a firm return date.
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Federal News

  • HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigned

    After a five year term, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation, indicating that the end of open enrollment provided an opportunity for a transition in leadership. President Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, as her replacement.
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  • HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Testified That 7.5 Million Enrolled in Exchanges

    In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that 7.5 million people had enrolled in Marketplace coverage as of April 1. Sebelius also discussed the 2015 President’s Budget request for HHS in the hearing.
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Other Public Coverage News

  • Colorado: Medicaid Added Dental Benefits for Adults Effective April 1

    As authorized under Senate Bill 242, Colorado Medicaid created a new limited dental benefit of $1,000 annually for adults ages 21 and over.  Basic dental services were available April 1 and more comprehensive adult services such as root canals, crowns, partial dentures, periodontal scaling and root planning, will become available on July 1.
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  • Missouri: Missouri Senate Panel Voted to Restore Medicaid Dental Coverage

    The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee voted to fund adult Medicaid dental services in the State’s Medicaid budget for 2015, nearly ten years after the Legislature eliminated the benefit for adults. The House previously approved the same funding request of nearly $48 million in federal and state funding. The budget will next be considered by the full Senate.
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  • New York: Health Commissioner Nirav Shah Resigned

    Dr. Nirav Shah, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, will leave his position in June, according to the Associated Press. He will join the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan as senior vice president, chief operating officer for clinical operations for the Southern California region.  Dr. Howard Zucker, the current First Deputy Commissioner, will be Dr. Shah’s interim replacement.
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