What’s getting funded: The Rhode Island Healthcare Cost Trends Project was just awarded a second grant ($1,300,000 in addition to the $550,000 in the first round) from the Peterson Center on Healthcare to expand work on data-driven healthcare transparency to limit healthcare cost growth. The project is a collaboration between Rhode Island state agencies and Brown University. See Peterson Center on Healthcare Expands Partnership with Rhode Island and Brown University on Data-Driven Healthcare Transparency.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is jointly leading the implementation of that state’s public option program. The exchange is taking comments on the draft gold, silver and bronze plans that will serve as the foundation for the state’s new Cascade Care public option, to be available for coverage year 2021. The exchange hosts the stakeholder workgroup that proposed the public option plans, and its website provides links to the full public option report, the draft plans, an explanatory powerpoint, background info and links to submit public comment. Colorado, the other state working on a public option, has taken a different approach.
Mass Health Connector aims to boost the state’s coverage rate from 97.2% to 100%, focusing on the last holdouts. According to the latest census information, just 2.8% of Massachusetts residents lack health coverage, the lowest rate of any state.
Maryland is studying the Massachusetts Commonwealth Care Trust Fund model, which provides extra subsidies for people who otherwise lack coverage. The Commonwealth Care Trust Fund is funded from various sources, including a tobacco tax, a penalty levied on people who don’t get health insurance, and the state’s general fund.
Maryland is also implementing the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, the country’s first attempt to use income tax filing as an entry point for health insurance enrollment. By checking a box on their state income tax return asking the exchange to determine their eligibility for free or low-cost insurance, an uninsured tax filer can have relevant information from their return sent automatically to Maryland’s health insurance exchange. The exchange then uses that data and other available records to determine the individual’s eligibility for Medicaid, CHIP, and PTCs.
Health Insurance 101: Preparing for Open Enrollment is a 25-minute on-demand webinar offered by California-based online broker StrideHealth.