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Regulatory Changes to Medicare in Response to COVID-19

This week, our In Focus section examines how the federal government implemented changes to the Medicare program in response to COVID-19.  As the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, Congress and the Administration responded with a series of legislative, regulatory, and sub-regulatory changes to the Medicare program that were designed to provide relief from certain Medicare rules to assist health care providers, Medicare Advantage organizations, and Part D plans in responding to the pandemic. Some of these changes waived conditions of Medicare participation to enable patients to be treated in alternative care settings. Others permitted physicians and other providers to receive Medicare reimbursements for telemedicine services.

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Hawaii Releases Quest Integration Reprocurement RFI

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Hawaii request for information (RFI) regarding reprocurement of the state’s QUEST Integration (QI) Medicaid managed care program, released on July 21, 2020. QI covers approximately 360,000 individuals, including pregnant women, children, parents/caretakers, adults, and individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled (ABD). The state had awarded contracts earlier this year, however, the contracts were rescinded as the state focused on their response to COVID-19.

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Oklahoma Releases Medicaid Managed Care Request for Public Feedback

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Oklahoma request for public feedback in the SoonerCare program design, released on June 18, 2020. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and Governor Kevin Stitt are seeking stakeholder input for the state’s Medicaid managed care program design before finalizing a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP, which is currently in development, is scheduled to drop in the fall and has an implementation date of October 2021. Individuals, program participants, providers, trade associations, companies, and other organizations are encouraged to submit responses by August 17, 2020.

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Early Bird Registration Expires July 29 for HMA Conference, October 26-27 in Chicago

Be sure to register soon for HMA’s conference on What’s Next for Medicaid, Medicare, and Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: How Payers, Providers, and States Are Navigating a Future of Opportunity and Uncertainty, October 26-27, at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. The Early Bird registration rate of $1595 per person expires on July 29.  After that, the rate is $1795.

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Medicaid and Exchange Enrollment Update – March 2020

This week, our In Focus section reviews updated information issued by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Medicaid expansion enrollment from the “March 2020 Medicaid and CHIP Applications, Eligibility Determination, and Enrollment Report,” published on June 22, 2020. Additionally, we review 2020 Exchange enrollment data from the “Health Insurance Exchanges 2020 Open Enrollment Period: Final State-Level Public Use File,” published by CMS on April 2, 2020. Combined, these reports present a picture of Medicaid and Exchange enrollment in early 2020, leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic and representing 70.9 million Medicaid and CHIP enrollees and 11.4 million Exchange enrollees. Medicaid/CHIP and Exchange enrollment is expected to rise in 2020 according to a team of HMA Medicaid experts, health economists, and data analysts. A previous In Focus on HMA’s forecast model can be found here.

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GAO 50-State Medicaid Survey on Federal Policy Challenges

This week our In Focus section summarizes the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Medicaid report, State Views on Program Administration Challenges, released earlier this year. GAO conducted interviews with Medicaid officials from 50 states and the District of Columbia to identify challenges related to federal Medicaid policies.  

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CMS Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Update

This week, our In Focus section examines new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding Medicare Advantage (MA) plan network adequacy requirements. On June 17, 2020, CMS released updated Medicare Advantage and 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance for Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans to use now for Contract Year 2021 network submission. 

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