Report Finds Alternative Medicaid Expansions Increased Coverage

A review of six states’ alternative Medicaid expansions—Arkansas, New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—found that Section 1115 waivers enabled these states to extend Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would have been uninsured, according to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute. The report found that the three states that purchased Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) for Medicaid enrollees additionally allowed for increased provider access, better integration between Medicaid and the Marketplace, increased Marketplace competition, and lower overall QHP costs. The report also identified a handful of issues to watch including ensuring access to “wrap-around” benefits covered by Medicaid but not offered in QHPs and effective implementation of medical frailty screeners.

Arkansas: Department of Human Services Director Provides Update on New Medicaid IT System

Director of the Department of Human Services John Selig explained to the Health Reform Legislative Task Force that the cost of implementing the State’s new Medicaid eligibility and enrollment system doubled to $200 million—almost 88% of which will be covered by federal dollars—due to changing specifications from the federal government and trouble processing federal enrollment files. Additionally, despite earlier delays, the State has started to perform annual eligibility redeterminations for individuals enrolled in the State's Private Option (Medicaid expansion) program, as reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Selig said that the State started performing eligibility checks two weeks ago and that he expects the State will be able to meet the federal government's September deadline for completion.

Louisiana: Legislature Approves Mechanism to Finance Medicaid Expansion

The Louisiana legislature approved a resolution (HCR75) allowing the Department of Health and Hospitals to collect a fee from some State hospitals to help pay for Medicaid expansion should the next Governor implement the expansion. Current Governor Bobby Jindal (R), whose last term ends in December 2015, has steadfastly opposed expanding Medicaid, but several gubernatorial candidates have said they may be supportive of expansion under certain conditions.

Montana: Twelve Appointed to Medicaid Expansion Panel, Including Two Expansion Foes

Twelve legislative and industry leaders have been chosen to serve on the Montana’s Medicaid Expansion panel, tasked with determining how to fund the program, decrease the incidence of Medicaid fraud, and expand access to behavioral health services, among other responsibilities. The panel consists of nine voting members, five of whom were appointed by Governor Steve Bullock (D) (including two hospital CEOs, the Deputy State Auditor, the Governor's Health and Families Advisor, and a primary care physician.) Democratic House and Senate majority leaders selected Representative Pat Noonan (D) and Senator Mary Caferro (D). Notably, two staunch opponents to Medicaid expansion, Representative Art Wittich (R) and Senator Bob Keenan (R), were selected to represent the GOP caucus on the panel. Senator Ed Buttrey (R), the Medicaid expansion bill's sponsor, was originally slated to sit on the panel; however, GOP legislative leaders replaced him with Senator Keenan. "We won't be sitting in the committee meetings with pom-poms," Senator Keenan said in response to his and Senator Wittich's placement on the panel.