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10 States move to impose Medicaid work requirements; Kentucky HEALTH becomes first to implement

Yvonne Villante
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Yvonne Villante

Director of Marketing at Softheon
Yvonne Villante is the Director of Marketing at Softheon. Before this, Yvonne held several roles within the organization including Senior Research Manager, Corporate Research Manager, and Marketing Research Analyst. She holds a MBA in healthcare administration from Ohio University and a BS in business management from SUNY Stony Brook. During her undergraduate studies, she graduated within the top 10% of her class.
Yvonne Villante
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Earlier this week, we examined a major shift involving states’ proposals to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients through Section 1115 waivers. The move, which was announced by the Trump Administration on January 11, would affect nearly 70 million low-income people receiving benefits.

According to CMS, ten states – Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin – have already sent in proposals to add work requirements for Medicaid. On January 12, Kentucky became the first to gain CMS approval. Mississippi has also submitted a waiver proposal to CMS, but it has not yet been certified as complete.

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Alex Azar on track to become next HHS Secretary

Yvonne Villante
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Yvonne Villante

Director of Marketing at Softheon
Yvonne Villante is the Director of Marketing at Softheon. Before this, Yvonne held several roles within the organization including Senior Research Manager, Corporate Research Manager, and Marketing Research Analyst. She holds a MBA in healthcare administration from Ohio University and a BS in business management from SUNY Stony Brook. During her undergraduate studies, she graduated within the top 10% of her class.
Yvonne Villante
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Following yesterday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, it appears Alex Azar, the former head of Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s U.S. operation, is on track to be confirmed as the Head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If confirmed, Azar will replace Thomas Price M.D., a former congressman who served as the HHS secretary for seven months before resigning. 

Despite a probe by Democrats, including that from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), on his drug industry ties, Republicans have focused on the fact that Azar would come to the job with greater working knowledge of the sprawling agency, with its budget of more than $1.1 trillion and far-flung staff of nearly 80,000, than many of his predecessors, according to the Washington Post 

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What’s new for SHOP in 2018

Yvonne Villante
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Yvonne Villante

Director of Marketing at Softheon
Yvonne Villante is the Director of Marketing at Softheon. Before this, Yvonne held several roles within the organization including Senior Research Manager, Corporate Research Manager, and Marketing Research Analyst. She holds a MBA in healthcare administration from Ohio University and a BS in business management from SUNY Stony Brook. During her undergraduate studies, she graduated within the top 10% of her class.
Yvonne Villante
Follow Me

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will remain open for small businesses with 1-50 employees in 2018, and will boast new features that’ll impact how small employers and their employees enroll in and manage their coverage for SHOP plans starting on or after January 1, 2018.

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CMS signals support for Medicaid work requirements

Sean Kirschner

Sean is a Business Analyst at Softheon. His objective is to provide insight into the current state of the healthcare landscape through research on both business and policy. He is also responsible for assisting the research team through creating and maintaining research briefings on various industry topics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College.

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Earlier this month, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma, made an announcement conveying that CMS would approve waiver applications from states that would require Medicaid enrollees to participate in “community engagement” activities, otherwise known as work requirements. This follows a letter co-authored by Verma that encouraged state Medicaid directors to use these waivers to modify their Medicaid programs to empower consumers. To advocates, work requirements are a way to empower Medicaid enrollees by encouraging them to be independent, self-sufficient consumers of healthcare.

Here’s what you should know about the proposed work requirements for Medicaid:

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What can healthcare payers learn from consumer retail?

Matt Cummings

Solutions Architect at Softheon
Matthew is a Solutions Architect at Softheon. He works closely with Product and Development teams to design products and solutions to help Health Plans and other entities to excel in the marketplace. He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology and Business Management from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

The Commerce Department announced last week that U.S. retail sales have surged 0.8% for the month of November, which was more than double the rate economists had predicted. As consumers flock to retailers like Amazon and Walmart this holiday season, here are 5 takeaways healthcare Payers can learn from them:

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Repealing individual mandate: not as bad as once feared?

Matt Cummings

Solutions Architect at Softheon
Matthew is a Solutions Architect at Softheon. He works closely with Product and Development teams to design products and solutions to help Health Plans and other entities to excel in the marketplace. He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology and Business Management from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

Background

On Wednesday, December 13th, leaders from both the House and Senate will meet in Washington to finalize the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill. If they decide to include removing the individual mandate, this will undoubtedly have an impact on healthcare in America – but it may be not as extreme as originally thought.

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Tax bill takes toll on individual mandate

Matt Cummings

Solutions Architect at Softheon
Matthew is a Solutions Architect at Softheon. He works closely with Product and Development teams to design products and solutions to help Health Plans and other entities to excel in the marketplace. He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology and Business Management from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.

Background

On Saturday, December 2nd, the U.S. Senate passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was drafted in a Republican effort to reform the U.S. tax code. This follows the passage of Congress’ version of the bill, which took place on November 16th. One of the key differences between the two bills is that the Senate’s version includes a provision that effectively removes the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires all individuals to purchase health insurance.

As leaders from the Senate and Congress meet to discuss how to reconcile the two versions of the bill, the healthcare industry is waiting to see if the mandate will be removed and what some of the ramifications could be.

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A Guide to the 2017 SHOP Guaranteed Availability Window

Sean Kirschner

Sean is a Business Analyst at Softheon. His objective is to provide insight into the current state of the healthcare landscape through research on both business and policy. He is also responsible for assisting the research team through creating and maintaining research briefings on various industry topics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College.

Latest posts by Sean Kirschner (see all)

While small businesses can enroll in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) at any time, today kicks off a month-long guaranteed availability window that allows small businesses to enroll in SHOP plans without meeting the usual requirements.

Starting today, the Federally facilitated SHOP (FF-SHOP) on HealthCare.gov is closed. Small businesses in FF-SHOP states will not be able to enroll online (though they will still be able to check their eligibility online). From now on, these small businesses will have to use a broker or agent to enroll in SHOP, or, alternatively, they can enroll directly with a health plan.

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A Victory for Maine Medicaid Could Be an Inspiration to Others

Sean Kirschner

Sean is a Business Analyst at Softheon. His objective is to provide insight into the current state of the healthcare landscape through research on both business and policy. He is also responsible for assisting the research team through creating and maintaining research briefings on various industry topics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College.

Latest posts by Sean Kirschner (see all)

What happened?

In a first-of-its-kind vote, Maine residents elected to expand the state’s Medicaid program through a state-wide referendum on Tuesday, November 7.

The expansion easily passed with 59% of voters in favor. These results place a majority of Maine residents in opposition to the stance of their Governor, Paul LePage, who has vetoed five bills to expand Medicaid.

Maine was one of 19 states that did not initially expand Medicaid in reaction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The state previously expanded the program in 2003, increasing the eligible population and subsidizing private coverage, but LePage dismantled much of this framework when he took office in 2011.

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DE Proxy: What You Need to Know About Enrolling Without healthcare.gov

Matt Cummings

Solutions Architect at Softheon
Matthew is a Solutions Architect at Softheon. He works closely with Product and Development teams to design products and solutions to help Health Plans and other entities to excel in the marketplace. He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Psychology and Business Management from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.
Background

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) kicked off last week featuring a significant new option for consumers: Direct Enrollment Proxy Pathway (aka DE Proxy).

Replacing the traditional “DE Classic” method, this new enrollment option streamlines the process by allowing approved third-party websites to enroll members without redirecting them to healthcare.gov. Here’s what you need to know about it:

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