CMS Links Uncompensated Care Funds To Expanding Medicaid in Multiple States

CMS sent a letter to the nine states that receive uncompensated care funding—Medicaid dollars that help states pay hospitals and doctors to treat the uninsured—warning them that this funding may be at risk if they do not expand Medicaid, reports Kaiser Health News. This outreach comes on the heels of CMS telling Florida that the State's decision not to expand Medicaid will impact the agency’s decision regarding the renewal of its uncompensated care funding. Because uncompensated care arrangements are discretionary, HHS has flexibility to define the conditions under which the funding is granted. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) weighed in, voicing his support for Florida Governor Rick Scott's (R) decision to sue CMS over this issue. Texas currently receives $3 billion in uncompensated care funding, which is set to expire in 2016. Four of the nine states that receive uncompensated care funding from CMS—Florida, Kansas, Tennessee and Texas—have not expanded Medicaid. States that have expanded that receive the funding include Arizona, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Mexico.

HealthCare.Gov Subsidy Calculation Error Impacts Families

Families with a disabled or deceased parent who applied for health insurance through HealthCare.gov may have received lower subsidies than they were eligible for or been erroneously determined ineligible for Medicaid due to a miscalculation of their income, as reported by Kaiser Health News. The technical glitch at the Federally-facilitated Marketplace resulted in children’s Social Security Income being included in determining eligibility when it should have been excluded. CMS has asked assisters to help impacted consumers file an eligibility appeal with the Marketplace or submit an application for a Medicaid determination.

New Report Finds Improved Marketplace Plan Satisfaction in 2015

Marketplace plan satisfaction among new enrollees has increased significantly (by 55 points, from 615 to 670) in 2015 compared to satisfaction in 2014, according to a report by J.D. Power that queried enrollees’ satisfaction across six dimensions on a 1,000-point scale: claims processing, communications, cost, coverage and benefits, customer service, provider selection, and enrollment experience. Consumers who used the auto re-enrollment process to re-enroll in the same plan were more satisfied, with a score of 744 points, than those who returned to the Marketplace to select a new plan, with a score of 724 points. Notably, satisfaction in Marketplace plans for 2015 is slightly higher (696 versus 679) than in traditional, mostly employer based, insurance.