In the first four months the health insurance exchanges have operated, 3.2 million Americans have purchased health insurance plans. More than three of four of those buying health insurance qualify for subsidies to reduce their premiums to a more affordable level. Another 3.1 million Americans have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP in the 26 states and the District of Columbia where Medicaid eligibility have been expanded. The CSG infographic below provides a state-by-state look at enrollment, Oct. 1, 2013 to Feb. 1, 2014. The exchanges will continue to provide insurance enrollment through the end of March 2014. The data has been taken from this report released February 12, 2014, by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Just hours before Gov. Maggie Hasan delivered her State of the State address yesterday, Senate leaders reached an agreement on Medicaid expansion.

New Hampshire held a special session in the fall of 2013 but was unable to reach an agreement to expand Medicaid, even after a Medicaid study group had recommended expansion. The House approved expansion but the Senate rejected it. 

Senate President Chuck Morse, a primary engineer of yesterday's agreement, says both parties...

Health care spending is 18 percent of the national economy so it is no wonder that big health issues face the states in 2014. The all-consuming question for states is how to contain costs. The Affordable Care Act kicks in full force in 2014 and states that haven't already decided to expand Medicaid eligibility may take up the question. The health marketplaces, while slow to start in October, were making more headway as 2014 began. Nearly 4 million (3.9) individuals had been deemed Medicaid or CHIP eligible and another 2.1 million selected private health insurance policies through the federal or state marketplaces by the end of December 2013. States will look at systems and delivery methods, including mental health, aging and professional scope of practice issues. 

CSG Director of Health Policy Debra Miller outlines the top five issues for 2014, including Medicaid expansion and cost containment, health insurance exchange implementation, building adequate mental health systems, health workforce adequacy and the aging of the baby boomers and the pressure it puts on health care systems.

Jennifer Burnett, CSG Program Manager, Fiscal and Economic Development Policy, outlines the top five issues for 2014 related to fiscal and economic development policy, including pervasive federal instability, a sluggish recovery, soaring health care costs, a stagnant labor market and new demands on state resources for economic development.

After a slow start, especially for the federally run health insurance marketplace serving 36 states, nearly 365,000 Americans made it through the application process and selected a health insurance plan, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dec. 11, 2013. The number selecting a plan in November was more than double the number in October, the first month the marketplaces were operational.

Yesterday, new data was released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that show over 3.6 million Americans have completed applications for health insurance coverage in the federal exchange and the state-based exchanges run by 14 states and the District of Columbia. 

Applicants who have made it to the finish line include nearly 365,000 who have selected a marketplace plan and 803,000 who have been determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (for children) coverage.

The federal government on Tuesday approved the Iowa plan to provide new private health insurance plus other plans from the state’s online health insurance marketplace to cover residents newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act option. However, according to AP reports, federal officials stopped short of approving the flexibility the Gov. Haslam requested to charge premiums. The legislature and Gov. Haslam negotiated the plan during the 2013 session.

The state’s proposal provides those with incomes up to 100 percent of poverty a state-run health plan similar to that of state employees. Those between 100 and 138 percent of poverty would get private plans sold through the marketplace and paid for with federal (and later some state) Medicaid funds.  

The CSG Justice Center released a new policy brief that outlines opportunities for states and localities to improve public health and safety outcomes and reduce spending on corrections and health care services by maximizing the appropriate use of Medicaid coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system. People in prisons and jails often have complex and costly health care needs, and states and local governments currently pay almost the entirety of these individuals’ health care costs. In addition, as many as 70 to 90 percent of the some 10 million people released from prison or jail each year are uninsured. The majority of these individuals have little or no access to health care services and experience gaps in continuity of care, which are associated with poor health outcomes and increased recidivism, particularly among those with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The appropriate use of federal Medicaid dollars to help expand health care coverage for individuals involved with the criminal justice system presents an opportunity to achieve reductions in state and local spending, while minimizing known health and public safety concerns associated with reentry following incarceration. However, opportunities to maximize and maintain Medicaid enrollment for eligible individuals in this population, and especially to make use of Medicaid to finance certain types of care provided to those who are incarcerated, have been largely underutilized by states. This brief provides an overview of opportunities to expand health care coverage, as well as access to and continuity of care; improve public health and safety outcomes for individuals involved with the criminal justice system; and reduce state and local expenditures on corrections and health care. <--break->

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