A project of the George Washington University's Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

NBER study discusses positive impact of including dental benefits in Medicaid

Posted on April 22, 2014 | Comments Off

A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) indicates that including adult dental benefits in Medicaid plans can have a multitude of positive results. The study, How Do Providers Respond to Public Health Insurance Expansions? Evidence from Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits, found that covering dental benefits resulted in more dentists participating in Medicaid without decreasing the number of privately insured patients these dentists see. Additionally, the study reported that dentists participating in Medicaid were able to make greater use of dental hygienists while only mildly increasing patient wait times.

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CBO lowers ACA cost estimate

Posted on April 14, 2014 | Comments Off

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently updated their cost estimate for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new estimate states that the ACA will cost $1.383 trillion over the next ten years, which is $104 billion less than the February estimate. The CBO states that the readjustment can be attributed to administrative changes, changes in the law, judicial decisions, new data (such as projected healthcare expenditures for both the private and public sectors), and changes in modeling.

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CMS FAQ discusses risk corridor

Posted on April 12, 2014 | Comments Off

A new set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) answers several questions concerning the risk corridor provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pursuant to the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2015 final rule, CMS stated that the risk corridor provisions would be implemented in a budget neutral manner. The new FAQ stated how the administration will address various issues that may arise in providing risk corridor payments, including sufficiency and medical loss ratio (MLR) determinations.

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Update: State Medicaid, Marketplace and Navigator Law Status

Posted on April 11, 2014 | Comments Off

Click here to see an updated version of our HealthReformGPS map that provides a comprehensive depiction of each state’s status on Medicaid expansion, Marketplace operations, and Navigator laws. Note that partnership marketplaces are considered federally-facilitated marketplaces for the purposes of this map.

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CRS memo explains premium subsidies for plans offered outside of Marketplaces

Posted on April 10, 2014 | Comments Off

A memorandum from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee states that a “literal application” of the law would prohibit premium subsidies to be offered for plans sold outside of the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces. The memo also provided means by which the administration could argue they possessed the authority to offer subsidies outside of the Marketplaces.

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RAND survey shows uptick in employer sponsored insurance

Posted on April 9, 2014 | Comments Off

A survey recently released by the RAND Corporation found that a net of 9.3 million individuals gained health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) open enrollment period. The majority of these individuals gained coverage through employer sponsored insurance (ESI), with Medicaid coming in as the second most frequent payer. RAND posits the uptick in ESI resulted from either the individual mandate forcing people to take coverage they had previously denied, or the improvements in the economy that have enabled more individuals to be employed and therefore receive benefits.

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Implementation Brief Update: Final 2015 Letter to Issuers in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace: Access and Non-Discrimination Considerations

Posted on April 9, 2014 | Comments Off

On March 14, 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published its 2015 letter to issuers selling qualified health plans in the federally facilitated Exchange Marketplace (FFM). The issuers letter is designed to provide federal guidance on the qualified health plan certification process to health insurance issuers and states that use the FFM while also maintaining plan management partnerships with the federal government (AL, AK, AZ, AR, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, WY). This Update reviews highlights of the final 2015 letter (we reviewed the draft letter in a prior Update.

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BPC releases report on LTC

Posted on April 8, 2014 | Comments Off

A new report issued by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) warns of the pending demand for long term care (LTC) services. According to BPC, the number of Americans needing LTC is expected to double by 2050. The report, compiled by BPC’s Long-Term Care Initiative, provides different delivery and financing reforms that may be instituted to help address the growing need for LTC.

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Implementation Brief Insurance Affordability: Payment of premium and cost sharing payments made on behalf of enrollees by federal and state programs

Posted on April 2, 2014 | Comments Off

Individuals purchasing qualified health plans and stand-alone dental plans (for the child component) through the Health Insurance Marketplace can qualify for premium subsidies and cost sharing reduction assistance if their modified adjusted gross incomes fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. Although as a matter of law the subsidies provided are deemed sufficient to make coverage affordable, for many individuals, the level of subsidy furnished is insufficient as a practical matter. Governmental programs such as the Ryan White Care Act and other federal and state programs may be available to help these individuals meet the cost of coverage by paying their share of premiums or assisting them with their portion of deductibles and other cost sharing. In recent weeks, however, news reports surfaced regarding the refusal by some insurers to accept payment made on behalf of enrollees.

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IRS guidance aids victims of domestic violence

Posted on March 26, 2014 | Comments Off

Guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits married individuals separated from their spouses due to domestic violence to receive income-based premium tax credits. Typically, spouses are expected to file taxes jointly in order to be eligible for premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Today’s guidance allows for an exception to this rule and also extends the enrollment deadline for this population by two months, through May 31st.

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