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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!


We can’t stop smiling, California! Pediatric dental benefits will be included in all QHPs, and new dental plan options will be available for families through Covered California in 2015. Learn more about California as well as health reform news around the nation with KidsWell’s state-by-state highlights below!

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

Implementation and Opposition

  • California: Marketplace Announced New Dental Plan Options for 2015 Open Enrollment

    Covered California (California’s State-Based Marketplace) announced that all individual Qualified Health Plans offered for the 2015 open enrollment period will include pediatric dental benefits. Previously, pediatric dental benefits were offered through optional standalone dental plans. In addition, the Marketplace announced that six family dental plans will be offered beginning in early 2015, which will provide coverage for adults.
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  • California: Marketplace Board Discussed Outreach Committee and Rate Review Proposals

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  • Colorado: C4HC Board Reviewed Open Enrollment Preparation

    The Connect for Health Colorado Board received updates on preparation for the 2015 open enrollment period in the areas of technological preparedness of the Marketplace, outreach planning, and service center sourcing. The Board also reviewed training materials for assisters that are expected to be posted online on September 15; although in-person training is not required, it will be available. Finally, the Board received an update on Marketplace enrollments and the financial activities of the Marketplace through the end of June.
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  • Hawaii: CMS Approved Use of Federal Marketplace Grants into 2015

    CMS approved an extension for the Hawaii Health Connector to use its remaining federal funds beyond the December 31, 2014 expiration date. As of June 2014, the Connector had about $75 million of the original $204.3 million federal grant remaining.
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  • Hawaii: Largest Insurer HMSA Pulled Out of SHOP for 2015

    Hawaii’s largest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), announced that it will not participate in the Hawaii Helath Connector’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) as of January 1, 2015. According to the Hawaii Reporter, the decision resulted from ongoing technical issues with the Exchange that drain on significant resources during 2014 coupled with the limited number of businesses participating. According to financial reports, HMSA lost $30 million in the first quarter of 2014.
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  • Minnesota: Two MNsure Advisory Committees Met

    MNsure’s Health Industry Advisory Committee met to define criteria for MNsure’s operational success based off a guide created at their previous meeting and to recommend key success metrics to the MNsure Board. Additionally, MNsure’s Consumer and Small Employer Advisory Committee met to review a presentation from the Patient Advocacy Coalition and to discuss services for women offered through MNsure, such as maternity care and mammograms. Meeting minutes became available for the previous Health Industry Advisory Committee Meeting and the Consumer and Small Employer Advisory Committee Meeting on July 24 and July 22, respectively.
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  • New Mexico: NMHIX Awarded Call Center Contract to Xerox

    The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) awarded a contract worth $851,753 to Xerox Corp. for operation of its call center. NMHIX seeks to become a full State-based Marketplace in 2015 and needs a full-service call center in order to do so. According to Albuquerque Business First, the contract awarded aims to ensure necessary call center services are in place when the transition to a State-based Marketplace occurs. NMHIX issued its Request for Proposals for Call Center Services in August 2013.
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  • Oregon: Oracle Filed Suit Against Cover Oregon

    Oracle, the state's primary IT vendor for its Marketplace, filed suit against Cover Oregon alleging breach of contract and public slander. The company filed a 21-page complaint in the Federal Court of the District of Oregon, Portland Division. The company claims that it is still owed $23 million under a contract with the Marketplace.
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  • Texas: Report Demonstrated Impact of Not Expanding Medicaid on Texas Latinos

    The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) released a report detailing the negative impact of not expanding Medicaid in Texas on Latinos. Latinos constitute 60% of the individuals who would be covered if the state expanded Medicaid and 39 percent of the uninsured overall; 38 percent of the state’s population is Latino. NCLR called for Medicaid expansion in the report and its surrounding publicity, joined by other community organizations including the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
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Federal News

  • CMS Announced Connecticut Marketplace Executive Kevin Counihan Will Lead Healthcare.Gov, Additional Key Staffing

    Kevin Counihan, former CEO of one of Connecticut’s state-based Marketplace, will join CMS as the Marketplace CEO charged with overseeing and running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) within CMS.  According to an HHS press release, under Counihan’s tenure as head of Connecticut’s Marketplace, enrollment exceeded expectations and the state’s uninsured rate was cut in half.  Lori Lodes, formerly of the Center for American Progress, was also named the new Director of the CMS Office of Communications.  Finally, CMS announced that Tim Hughey of Accenture will remain in his role of providing technology support to the federal Marketplace through the next open enrollment period.
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  • CMS Released Guidance on Training, Certification, and Recertification for FFM Assisters

    CMS released a bulletin regarding training, certification, and recertification for enrollment assisters in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces. The bulletin explains how the Agency is updating its assister training curriculum in preparation for the next Open Enrollment period. The curriculum, which will be released in early September, will approximately 20 hours and include information on assistance methods for special populations and re-enrollment. The bulletin also outlines how current navigators can get recertified.
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  • Plaintiffs Requested Appeals Court Not Revisit Case on FFM Subsidy Allowance

    Lead plaintiff, Jacqueline Halbig, asked the D.C. Circuit not to rehear its legal challenge of FFM subsidies, in response to a request from the Obama Administration for the Court to revisit the case. In an attempt to uphold the Circuit’s ruling that subsidies cannot flow through the FFM, Halbag filed a brief arguing that another review would add legal complexities to the matter and "waste both time and effort." Instead, the plaintiffs suggested waiting to see if the Supreme Court accepts a petition to review the case.
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Other Public Coverage News

  • North Carolina: Consulting Firm Awarded Financial Management Contract for Medicaid

    The News & Observer reported the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services awarded Alvarez & Marsal, a Washington- area consulting firm, a $6.8 million no-bid contract to manage the finances of the state's Medicaid program. In addition to financial management responsibilities, the firm will reorganize the Medicaid program structure and recruit individuals to fill 332 vacant positions.
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