As of late Friday afternoon, April 30, 43 states had responded to the letter from Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius on high-risk insurance pools. According to an HHS blog posting, 28 states will run a state high-risk pool and 15 states have declined. Of the 28 states, nine states (ME, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT) and the District of Columbia do not already operate a high-risk pool. For the states that decline, the federal government will run a pool to provide insurance coverage for those denied health insurance. Under federal health care reform, $5 billion is available to subsidize health insurance coverage through these high risk pools for individuals who are denied health insurance. The high risk pools bridge the gap until 2014, when the new law will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to adults. The law prohibits denying children coverage later this year.
Landmark federal health reform has passed and as state leaders consider that and other effects, The Council of State Governments launched a new federal health care reform resources Web site and will host a free webinar April 6 to provide an overview of what federal health care reform means for the states.
President Obama’s health care proposal released by the White House on February 22, will expand Medicaid eligibility for working families below 133% of poverty. This is the income level contained in the Senate bill, below the 150% of the federal poverty level in the House passed health reform bill.
The federal government will provide to the states 100% of the cost of newly eligible persons between 2014 and 2017. The states’ match rate will be 95% for 2018 and 2019 and drop to 90% for subsequent years.
The laws of thirty eight states expand the age of health care insurance coverage for dependent children according to a report just released by Rutgers University researchers. These policies are appealing to state policymakers as young adults, 19 to 29 years, are more likely to lack health insurance coverage than any other age group. The report analysis found a small increase in coverage of young adults as dependents, but also showed declines in other sources of coverage, resulting in a finding that these laws did not decrease the likelihood of young adults being uninsured. The authors urge lawmakers to consider states’ experience when considering expanding dependent coverage in either federal or state law.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. SNAP benefits provide a significant boost to local economies. Federal stimulus legislation increased these benefits. The SNAP program is federally funded but administered at the state level.