Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: email@example.com
Amid a flood of new Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations following President's Obama's reelection, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has outlined for the first time the coverage that states must offer new Medicaid enrollees if they decide to expand the program under the law.
Most of the newly eligible enrolles will be childless adults, a population not covered by many states' current Medicaid programs. So, if states expand, they'll have to design a new benefit plan for that new population. HHS also explained how states can make sure those new Medicaid plans satisfy the ACA's requirements for essential health benefits (minimum coverage limits in 10 core areas) that will apply to all health insurance plans.
Here's how they can do it, according to a letter that Cindy Mann, director of the HHS Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, sent to state Medicaid directors Tuesday:
States can begin submitting their Medicaid benchmarks in the first quarter of 2013. The new Medicaid coverage plans will be in effect during the first year of the expansion (through Dec. 31, 2015), and then HHS will evaluate whether any changes need to be made.
The Medicaid expansion, which June's Supreme Court ruling made optional for states, is expected to cover up to 17 million people starting in 2014 if all 50 states elect to expand. Several GOP governors have said that they will not in the months since the ruling, although final decisions will be made during next year's legislative sessions.
Mann's letter to state Medicaid directors is below.