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Preparing for Medicaid Changes When the Public Health Emergency Expires

When the federal declaration of a public health emergency (PHE) expires, many of the flexibilities initiated during COVID-19 will need to be rolled back, including changes in Medicaid enrollment and eligibility. ACL has developed a fact sheet to help grantees prepare for these changes ahead and continue to support older adults and people with disabilities who currently rely on Medicaid Coverage.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73792

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Growth in New, Non-Medical Benefits Following the CHRONIC Care Act

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have gained flexibility to offer a wide range of new supplemental benefits and to target benefits to members with specific conditions and individual need. This data insight provides an analysis of non-medical supplemental benefit growth since 2020, and focuses on the following: Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI), which first became available in 2020 through the passage of the CHRONIC Care Act and a set of five Expanded Primarily Health-Related Benefits (EPHRB), which first became available in 2019 after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the definition of what could be considered “primarily health-related."

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73791

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Reducing Costs for Families and States by Increasing Access to Home and Community-Based Services

The majority of individuals who need long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the United States rely on unpaid assistance from family and friends. The economic value of the unpaid care they provide is estimated to be over $470 billion annually. Unmet needs and waiting lists for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) place significant strain on individuals with disabilities and their families. This report explores how increasing access to HCBS services can reduce out-of-pocket costs for families and strengthen employment and financial wellbeing of family caregivers.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73790

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Nursing Facility Staffing Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of COVID-19 on nursing facility residents and staff has brought increased attention to existing workforce issues that affect care quality and safety, including staffing shortages and high turnover rates. This analysis presents the most recent national and state-level data on nursing facility-reported staff shortages and describes the Biden Administration’s new policy initiatives to address issues in nursing facilities. National staff shortage trend data spans from May 2020, the first month when nursing facilities were required to report COVID-19 facility data to the CDC, through March 20, 2022, the most recent week of data available.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73789

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces a New Way for Medicare Beneficiaries to Get Free Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced that more than 59 million Americans with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, now have access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, authorized, or cleared over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no cost. People with Medicare can get up to eight tests per month from participating pharmacies and health care providers for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73787

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New Online Tool to Get Started Applying For SSI

The SSA has launched a new online tool to help individals declare interest in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Applicants and individuals assisting applicants can now use this tool to request an appointment to apply for SSI benefits. An individual only needs to provide basic information to make the online request. The SSA will then schedule an appointment to apply for benefits by phone and send notification of the appointment within 7-14 business days.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73784

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CMS Announces Funding to Strengthen Safety Net for Seniors and People with Disabilities

CMS has announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. The new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories not currently participating in MFP. These funds will support initial planning and implementation to get the state/territory programs off the ground, which would ensure more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73782

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The Doctor Will Hear You Now: Audio-Only Telehealth and the Promise of Access, Equity, and Engagement in Medicaid

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many providers to transition to telehealth when it became the only way patients could access health services. Medicaid agencies now have an opportunity to support phone-based telemedicine in primary care beyond the pandemic, and many are already doing so. This blog post explores strategies that Medicaid agencies can use to suport audio-only telehealth moving forward, including extending payment parity for telehealth visits and using value-based payment models.

Short URL: http://www.advancingstates.org/node/73781

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