Archive for February 2014
Yesterday the Corbett administration submitted a waiver application to the federal government requesting permission to expand the state’s Medicaid program as described in its “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposal. The Pennsylvania proposal seeks to vary from the approach taken by most states expanding their Medicaid programs in accordance with the Affordable Care Act by directing the expansion population into private health insurance plans. A draft waiver application, released in December, was the subject of public hearings throughout the state. The Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP) testified at one of those hearings and also submitted detailed written comments about the proposal; both can be found here. The state’s waiver application, the December draft application, a summary of the application, and the written and … Read More
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act that encourage states to take new approaches to serving their dually eligible residents – low-income seniors eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid – will soon translate into new state programs. Massachusetts has already launched such an initiative, a new California program will begin in May, and 17 additional states are scheduled to begin new efforts later this year and next. New federal policies encourage state Medicaid programs to work with Medicare in service to their dually eligible population, with the states and Medicare sharing in the savings they produce. Currently, dually eligible patients constitute 15 percent of the Medicaid population but account for 40 percent of Medicaid’s costs and 20 percent of the Medicare … Read More
123,681 Pennsylvanians signed up for health insurance through the federally facilitated marketplace between October 1 and February 1, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Among Pennsylvanians who enrolled in new health insurance plans, 79 percent were eligible for financial assistance with their premiums and 56 percent are female while 44 percent are male. Among those who enrolled in insurance plans through the marketplace, 26 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34; 15 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44; 22 percent are between 45 and 54; and 36 percent are between 55 and 64. In all, the marketplace evaluated 286,926 Pennsylvanians for eligibility for subsidized insurance, Medicaid, and … Read More
The Corbett administration’s Healthy Pennsylvania health care reform and Medicaid expansion proposal could steer low-income patients away from the state’s federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and reduce the payments those facilities receive for much of the care they deliver. FQHCs have long provided medical care to uninsured people who had no other care options, but if Healthy Pennsylvania is adopted, many of those patients would become eligible for health insurance, whether Medicaid or subsidized by the federal government, and might choose other providers instead or might even find their FQHCs excluded from their new insurer’s provider network. Learn more about the collision course FHQCs may find themselves on with Healthy PA in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.
Pennsylvania will submit its “Healthy Pennsylvania” Medicaid expansion waiver application to the federal government in about two weeks, Governor Tom Corbett told a central Pennsylvania public radio station last week. Once the state submits that application, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, “…the process should go quickly, he [Corbett] said, since the details have been worked out through ‘constant negotiations’ with federal officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.” Read more about Governor Corbett’s radio appearance and his thoughts on Healthy Pennsylvania and Medicaid expansion in this Harrisburg Patriot-News report.
Yesterday Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his proposed FY 2015 budget – a mixed bag for the state’s safety-net hospitals. The budget proposes increased spending for Medicaid services, compensates for the loss of federal Medicaid funding expected when the state’s Medicaid matching rate declines later this year, and proposes new funding to help develop clinics and encourage medical professionals to work in rural and underserved parts of Pennsylvania. On the other hand, the budget proposes slight reductions in selected supplemental payments that are important to safety-net hospitals, counts on significant savings derived through the Healthy Pennsylvania program that has not yet been approved by the federal government, and assumes that the state will prevail in its appeal of an arbitration … Read More
Governor Corbett’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” health care reform and Medicaid expansion proposal includes a component without precedent: a work-search requirement that would require most but not all Medicaid recipients to meet designated job search requirements as a condition for continuing to qualify for Medicaid benefits. As yet unknown is whether the federal government, which must approve the state’s plan, will permit Pennsylvania to impose such a requirement. The Philadelphia Inquirer has taken a closer look at the proposed work-search requirement, the rationale behind it, the challenges inherent in administering it, and the perspectives of various groups about the advisability of such a new approach. Read the Inquirer report here.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has announced the creation of a New Long-Term Care Commission “to ensure access to quality, affordable health care with the signing of an Executive Order establishing the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Commission.” The commission’s stated mission is to “… develop recommendations focused on improving the current long-term care system, including identifying effective ways to provide a better coordinated approach to delivering services and support, and ensuring quality health care for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities.” The commission is expected to deliver its findings and recommendations to the governor by December. See the executive order creating the commission here and the news release announcing its formation here.