Georgia had received approval from the Trump administration to have residents shop for insurance only through private brokers, instead of the federal healthcare.gov website. But the Biden administration said Friday that move could break federal rules and cause too many people to be dropped from coverage.
Biden Administration Suspends Georgia Plan To Block Access To ACA Website
The Biden administration has officially suspended Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to block Georgians from shopping for health insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace later this year. Open enrollment for ACA plans typically begins Nov. 1. More than 400,000 Georgians use the marketplace to sign up for their insurance. Currently, 700,000 Georgians are covered by ACA plans and the majority buy them on the website healthcare.gov. Under the Kemp plan, when shoppers went to the website to shop for plans, it would have instead directed them to buy their plans from individual insurance companies or private brokers. President Trump’s administration approved the plan, called a “waiver,” shortly before he left office. (Hart, 4/29)
Feds Block Georgia’s Plan To Have Private Sector Handle ACA
The letter from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gives Georgia until July 28 to formulate a “corrective action plan … ensuring that the waiver will provide coverage to a comparable number of residents, that the coverage will be at least as comprehensive and affordable as coverage provided without the waiver, and that the waiver will not increase the federal deficit.” (5/1)
Oregon, Kentucky Dust Off An Obama-Era Policy To Expand Health Insurance
Two states are dusting off a little-used provision of the Affordable Care Act hoping to make health care more affordable for tens of thousands of low-income residents. Oregon and Kentucky, despite their wildly different politics, are pursuing an Obama-era policy that uses federal dollars to establish a health insurance plan for people who make too much money to qualify for their state’s Medicaid programs. The goal is to provide residents who find Obamacare plans too expensive a less costly option, while smoothing insurance gaps for people teetering on the edge of Medicaid eligibility. (Messerly, 4/30)
In news about other health insurance programs —
California Opens Medicaid To Older Unauthorized Immigrants
On May 1, California opened Medi-Cal to older immigrants residing in the state without legal permission. Unauthorized immigrants over age 49 who fall below certain income thresholds are now eligible for full coverage by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health insurance to low-income people. (Wolfson, 5/2)
A Possible Reduction For Medicare Part B Premiums Is Still In Play
For Medicare beneficiaries wondering whether their Part B premiums could be reduced, the waiting continues. More than three months after Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra ordered a reassessment of this year’s $170.10 standard monthly premium — a bigger-than-expected jump from $148.50 in 2021 — it remains uncertain when a determination will come and whether it would affect what beneficiaries pay this year. “A mid-course reduction in premiums would be unprecedented,” said Tricia Neuman, executive director of the Medicare policy program at the Kaiser Family Foundation. (O’Brien, 5/1)
CMS Report Details Health Disparities Among Medicare Advantage Enrollees
Black, Indigenous and Alaska Native patients experienced the most significant disparities in clinical care among Medicare Advantage enrollees last year, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the RAND Corp. The CMS Office of Minority Health and the consulting company analyzed information from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) for the study, which compares clinical data and patient satisfaction surveys across demographics. (Hartnett, 4/29)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.