Arkansas: Governor Reiterates Support for Medicaid Expansion, Withdraws Proposals to Limit Coverage

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) submitted a letter to the Arkansas Health Reform Legislative Task Force agreeing with a consultant’s recommendations to discard two proposals he introduced in August as part of his initial Medicaid reform plan, which would have limited enrollment of the expansion population in the private insurance marketplace and eliminated coverage for non-emergency medical transportation. The Governor also noted that the report supported other principles of his Medicaid reform plan, including: promoting employer-sponsored insurance, enhancing cost sharing for certain beneficiaries, implementing a work referral program, and utilizing Medicaid managed care for “high cost populations.” The Governor urged the task force to continue studying other reforms that can be included in a new Medicaid expansion waiver application—which the Governor terms “Arkansas Works”—once the current waiver expires at the end of 2016.

Montana: Alternative Medicaid Expansion Waiver Approved by CMS

On Monday, Montana received approval from CMS for its alternative Medicaid expansion waiver, making them the thirtieth state in the nation, including D.C., to expand Medicaid. Under the approved waiver, Medicaid expansion enrollees with incomes above 50% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will use a provider network managed by a third party administrator and will be subject to a 2% of income premium, which will be credited towards co-payment obligations. Enrollees with incomes above 100% of the FPL may be disenrolled for failure to pay premiums after appropriate noticing and a 90-day grace period. Re-enrollment is permitted either upon payment of arrears or when the debt is assessed, which will occur at least quarterly. An additional 70,000 Montanans are expected to gain health care access to coverage through the expansion, which takes effect on January 1, 2016.