Colorado: Marketplace Board Approves 2016 Budget

The Colorado Marketplace's Board approved a budget that will generate a cash operating deficit of $4.6 million and a total deficit of $13.3 million in 2016, reports the Denver Post. Cash reserves of $28.5 million will be used to cover the budgetary shortfall.

Florida: Legislature Agrees to LIP Budget Fix; First Hearing Date for Governor’s Lawsuit against CMS Announced

Resolving a contentious budget debate that sent lawmakers into a special session, the Florida House and Senate agreed to allocate $2 billion to continue the Low Income Pool (LIP) close to its 2014 funding level, including $400 million in state funds that will allow the state to draw down a $600 million in federal matching funds. Governor Rick Scott (R) must sign the completed budget by June 30 to enact the provision. Meanwhile, a federal district judge rejected Governor Scott’s request to compel CMS to enter into mediation with the state and announced that the first LIP lawsuit hearing will take place on June 19. Live witness testimony will be included “to have a thorough understanding of the LIP extension or amendment process and the history of the negotiations between the parties in order to resolve the questions raised.”

Massachusetts: Legislature Creates Committee to Examine Medicaid Costs

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D) is establishing a special committee to study the financial pressures facing Medicaid managed care plans, reports The Boston Globe. The 13-member advisory panel will include seven House members and six industry representatives, and will explore cost drivers and where plans can achieve savings. The committee will issue recommendations by October 1.

Pennsylvania: Full Cost CHIP Plan Enrollees Won’t Face Penalties

Governor Tom Wolf (D) announced that all full cost Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans purchased by families above the income limit for subsidies will now meet the minimum essential coverage requirements of the ACA, relieving families from facing tax penalties for 2015 due to plans not being compliant with ACA consumer protections. The Governor also confirmed that families would not face premium increases for the current plan year.

Rhode Island: House Finance Committee Passes Budget with Marketplace Assessment

The House Finance Committee passed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 State budget that upholds the proposed premium assessment on individual and small group health plans to fund Rhode Island’s Marketplace, stating that the assessment "shall not exceed the revenue able to be raised through the federal government assessment and shall be established in accordance and conformity with the federal government assessment." The budget also includes lower-than-expected Medicaid payment cuts to hospitals and nursing home. The FY16 budget goes to the full House next.

Washington: Exchange to Expand Small Business Health Options Program Eligibility

Starting in January 2016, business with up to 100 employees will be eligible to participate in plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder Business. Previously, only businesses with 50 or fewer employees were eligible to participate. Carriers have also applied to offer an increasing number of small business health options program plans on the Exchange. Starting in 2016, three insurers—United Healthcare of Washington, Moda Health Plan, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest—have applied to sell 47 small business health options program plans on the Exchange.

Washington: Public Employees Benefits Board to Offer ACO-like Plans

Starting in 2016, Washington's Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) will offer two ACO-like plans, called Accountable Care Programs (ACPs), to its more than 350,000 participating public employees and retirees. In a press release, the Washington State Health Care Authority said the two ACPs—Puget Sound High Value Network LLC and UW Medicine Accountable Care Network—will provide enhanced care coordination at lower cost and offer integrated physical and behavioral health services to their members. The PEBB is offering the ACPs as a first step toward shifting 80% of state healthcare spending to value-based arrangements by 2019, a key component of Washington's State Healthcare Innovation Plan. The two ACPs will be available in five counties in 2016, with plans to expand statewide in 2017.