States will have an additional year to use American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen the home care workforce and expand access to services
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is notifying states that they now have an additional year — through March 31, 2025 — to use funding made available by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to enhance, expand, and strengthen home- and community-based services (HCBS) for people with Medicaid who need long-term services and supports. This policy update marks the latest action by the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen the health care workforce, help people receive care in the setting of their choice, and reduce unnecessary reliance on institutional care.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved California, Florida, Kentucky, and Oregon actions to expand Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to 12 months postpartum for a total of an additional 126,000 families across their states, annually—supporting 57,000; 52,000; 10,000; and 7,000 parents, respectively.
The final Senate compromise, which was adopted as part of the ACA, largely reinforces the Hyde Amendment, which has been included in annual Congressional appropriations legislation since the 1970s and prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion services unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or would endanger the woman’s life (non-Hyde abortions).
The ACA allows the coverage of abortion services through the marketplaces but includes a number of restrictions and requirements that insurers must follow before covering non-Hyde abortions. Many, though not all, of these restrictions are outlined in Section 1303 of the ACA, which includes specific rules related to the coverage of abortion services by Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and has been the subject of previous litigation. In particular, Section 1303:
On the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, Covered California reminds consumers that eligible Californians can sign up through special enrollment if they have a qualifying life event.
Californians who have recently lost their health insurance, got married, had a baby, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, or paid a penalty for not having coverage are among those eligible for special enrollment.
Coverage is more affordable than ever thanks to the increased financial help available through the American Rescue Plan, and consumers can benefit from lower premiums throughout 2022.
A new Covered California analysis describes the potential impact to consumers if the increased health insurance subsidies that were part of the American Rescue Plan are allowed to expire at the end of 2022.
In California, all consumers would face premium increases, including 1 million lower-income consumers (individuals earning less than $32,200 per year), who would see their premiums more than double.
In addition, middle-income individuals and families (for individuals, those earning more than $51,520 per year), would no longer be eligible for any financial help and would face higher monthly premium costs that for many will mean annual cost increases in the thousands of dollars.
The increase in costs could force more than 150,000 people in California and more than 1.7 million nationally to drop their health insurance.
However, I deliberately left out a section because I wanted to discuss it separately. If you scroll down to pages 31 & 32, you'll see a summary of two important pieces of ACA-related legislation which have been introduced in the California state legislature.
One of these is SB 967, introduced by CA State Senator Robert Hertzberg, which would do the following:
Covered California Names Jessica Altman as Its New Chief Executive Officer
Jessica Altman comes to Covered California from Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as the Commonwealth’s insurance commissioner, regulating the fifth-largest insurance market in the nation.
Altman brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from serving as chair of the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority and having led the establishment of Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-based marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.
Altman will step into this new role following the planned departure of Peter V. Lee, Covered California’s founding executive director, who has led the organization since its inception more than a decade ago.