In just the last two weeks, at least four states have advanced Medicaid expansion discussions:
- On March 7, Governor Beebe (D) signed into law SB111, Arkansas’s fiscal year 2015 Department of Human Services budget bill containing the appropriation for the Private Option immediately after the Arkansas House passed the bill by the required three-fourths margin on its fifth vote. Arkansas’s Private Option uses Medicaid premium assistance to purchase Qualified Health Plan (QHP) coverage for all expansion adults except the medically frail who receive coverage through the State’s Medicaid fee-for-service program.
- On February 19, Governor Corbett (R) of Pennsylvania filed a waiver with CMS seeking to expand the state’s Medicaid program using premium assistance to purchase QHP coverage for new adults. The waiver included a request to impose cost sharing and premiums and also to impose work requirements as a condition of eligibility. On March 5, Governor Corbett changed course and advised CMS that the State will no longer include a work-search requirement in the Healthy Pennsylvania plan to expand Medicaid in the State and will instead use a voluntary incentive approach.
- On March 6, New Hampshire’s Senate approved a bill to implement Medicaid expansion through a combination of premium assistance for those with available employer-sponsored insurance—starting as soon as is practicable—and premium assistance for other newly eligible individuals to enroll in QHPs in the Marketplace, beginning January 1, 2016.
- Governor Mead (R) of Wyoming signed the state’s biennial budget bill on March 5, which includes a provision permitting the Governor, Director of the Department of Health, and State Insurance Commissioner to enter negotiations with the federal government regarding a Medicaid expansion demonstration waiver.