ADEA State Update

Insurance and Medicaid Update - June 2018

(Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid) Permanent link   All Posts

Medicaid Expansion

It has been a busy month for Medicaid, but the biggest news is that after four years of fighting over Medicaid expansion, Virginia legislators have finally settled on a compromise likely to make Virginia the 33rd state to expand coverage. On May 3, the Virginia Senate voted to expand Medicaid to as many as 400,000 low-income residents on the condition that the state seek a waiver to implement work requirements on recipients who are living above the federal poverty level. The Trump Administration has approved such waivers in four states, all of which expanded Medicaid. The Senate bill now has to go back to the House of Delegates, which will need to approve this new version of expansion.

In another win for Medicaid expansion, a measure to expand Medicaid to 150,000 people in Utah has gathered enough signatures to get on the ballot. The initiative, backed by 147,280 signatures, will compete with a plan from Governor Gary Herbert (R) for a “partial expansion” to individuals living at 100%of the federal poverty level instead of the full 138%.

According to Kaiser Health News, advocates in Idaho and Nebraska expect to put Medicaid expansion on their November ballots. All of this activity, which could bring the total number of states expanding Medicaid to 35, is exciting but is undercut by the specter of associated work requirements, as well as the extremely unorthodox situation in Maine where advocates sued Governor Paul LePage (R) last month for failing to honor a ballot measure supporting expansion. A judge has ordered the state of Maine to honor the vote.

In a move that could expand Medicaid’s reach even further, the California General Assembly passed a measure that would eliminate legal residency requirements for the state’s Medi-Cal program. This would expand Medicaid in the state to all eligible adults regardless of immigration status. The bill passed the Assembly and entered the Senate on May 30.

Short-term Insurance Plans Vetoed in Virginia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) vetoed a bill that would have authorized the sale of short-term insurance policies. Insurance carriers were barred from carrying short-term plans (in Virginia, those lasting 364 days or less) because they leave people underinsured. Gov. Northam cites the risk of increasing premiums in his veto note.

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