Basic Health Plan

OK, I'm back from the Doctors for America conference! I'll be posting a write-up about that soon, but in the meantime I have a backlog of healthcare policy developments to catch up on...

Last fall Oregon moved to the next step on their Basic Health Plan program (via Oregon Public Broadcasting):

Oregon becomes 3rd in nation to seek federal approval for a basic health program

A group of volunteer advisors to the Oregon Health Authority has voted Tuesday to make the state the third in the nation to seek federal approval for a basic health program.

...The Oregon Health Policy Board voted unanimously to approve Oregon’s blueprint application. It was the last step in a lengthy policy-making process needed for state approval of the plan after a task force last year recommended moving forward with it.

Earlier today I noted that New York has officially implemented their expansion of the Essential Plan, their branding of the ACA-funded Basic Health Plan (BHP) program that currently covers 1.2 million New Yorkers, from residents earning under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level up to those earning as much as 250% FPL.

In doing so, around 100,000 additional people are now enrolled in the BHP program, with roughly 62,000 of them now saving an average $4,700/year versus the ACA exchange plans they were previously enrolled in, plus another ~32,000 who I presume are completely new to either program.

New York's implementation of the ACA's Basic Health Plan provision (Section 1331 of the law) is called the Essential Plan. It currently serves 1.2 million New Yorkers, or over 4x as many residents as ACA exchange plans do.

Whenever I write about BHPs I always throw in a simple explainer about what it is, with an assist from Louise Norris:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

New York's implementation of the ACA's Basic Health Plan provision (Section 1331 of the law) is called the Essential Plan. It currently serves 1.2 million New Yorkers, or over 4x as many residents as ACA exchange plans do.

Whenever I write about BHPs I always throw in a simple explainer about what it is, with an assist from Louise Norris:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

New York's implementation of the ACA's Basic Health Plan provision (Section 1331 of the law) is called the Essential Plan. It currently serves over 1.1 million New Yorkers, or over 5x as many residents as ACA exchange plans do.

Whenever I write about BHPs I always throw in a simple explainer about what it is, with an assist from Louise Norris:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

The out-of-pocket differences between Medicaid and QHPs are significant, even for people with incomes just above the Medicaid eligibility threshold who qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.

It's been about five months since I last posted about the status of Oregon's pending Basic Health Plan program:

As reported by Megan Messerly of Politico in 2022:

In Oregon, Democrats passed a bill in March to establish a basic health program, the details of which are being ironed out by a task force that began meeting this week. In Kentucky, Republicans approved $4.5 million in state funds this spring to set up a basic health program, which was signed into law by the state’s Democratic governor. An estimated 85,000 Oregonians and at least 37,000 Kentuckians will be eligible to enroll in the plans as soon as next year.

New York's implementation of the ACA's Basic Health Plan provision (Section 1331 of the law) is called the Essential Plan. It currently serves over 1.1 million New Yorkers, or over 5x as many residents as ACA exchange plans do.

Whenever I write about BHPs I always throw in a simple explainer about what it is, with an assist from Louise Norris:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

The out-of-pocket differences between Medicaid and QHPs are significant, even for people with incomes just above the Medicaid eligibility threshold who qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.

via New York State of Health:

  • Nearly Three Quarters of New Yorkers Enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus or the Essential Plan Have Renewed Their Coverage by the June Deadline; Renewal Strategies Are Working; Others Still Have Time to Act
  • New York Outperforming National Average as Reported by KFF
  • Monthly Dashboard Tracks Renewal Status, Demographics, and State Program Transitions During Public Health Emergency Unwind  

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 18, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today released the first issue of New York’s Public Health Emergency Unwind Dashboard, a monthly report reflecting data on renewal status, demographics, and program transitions for public health insurance enrollees, which shows renewal outreach strategies are working.  The report indicates that roughly 72 percent of New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus or the Essential Plan renewed their coverage before the June deadline to re-enroll and those who haven’t still have time to act to avoid potential lapses in coverage. As reported by KFF, the national renewal rate for states reporting data is 59 percent.

As I wrote about back in March and updated in May, New York's implementation of the ACA's Basic Health Plan provision (Section 1331 of the law) is called the Essential Plan. It currently serves over 1.1 million New Yorkers, or over 5x as many residents as ACA exchange plans do.

Whenever I write about BHPs I always throw in a simple explainer about what it is, with an assist from Louise Norris:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

The out-of-pocket differences between Medicaid and QHPs are significant, even for people with incomes just above the Medicaid eligibility threshold who qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.

This is an updated version of a similar post from last month, when the legislation passed the MN Senate.

As I've written about several times, recently New Mexico passed (and Gov. Lujan Grisham signed) the first "true" Public Option bill, which will allow any permanent New Mexico resident to enroll in Medicaid regardless of income via a sliding premium scale. Today there's big Public Option news in another state: Minnesota.

The main distinction between the New Mexico and Minnesota approaches has to do with which existing publicly-funded healthcare program they're based on. While New Mexico went with Medicaid (which half the state's population is already enrolled in anyway), Minnesota is basing theirs on their Basic Health Plan program, MinnesotaCare. I first wrote about this back in February.

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