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Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers provide states an avenue to test new approaches in Medicaid that differ from federal program rules. Waivers can provide states considerable flexibility in how they operate their programs, beyond what is available under current law, and can have a significant impact on program financing. As such, waivers have important implications for beneficiaries, providers, and states. While there is great diversity in how states have used waivers over time, waivers generally reflect priorities identified by states and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Looking ahead, states are likely to continue to request waivers to implement provisions not allowed under current law. The Trump administration recently signaled in a letter to governors that CMS would be open to considering waiver requests concerning work requirements in Medicaid, for instance, and some states may wish to experiment with premiums and cost-sharing requirements. This page highlights key resources examining Section 1115 waivers and, farther down, also provides the standard search result page for a site-wide search on the “waivers” tag.

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Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers: Current Issues

This fact sheet provides a brief introduction to Section 1115 waivers in the Medicaid program and highlights policy issues related to recent waiver activity. Fact Sheet (.pdf)

The Impact of Medicaid Reductions in Oregon:  Focus Group Insights

The Impact of Medicaid Reductions in Oregon: Focus Group InsightsOregon is one state that has significantly restructured its Medicaid program, known as the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), in response to budget pressures. As part of these changes, it has implemented significant benefit reductions and increased premiums and cost sharing in…

Tennessee’s New “Medically Necessary” Standard:  Uncovering the Insured?

Tennessee's New “Medically Necessary” Standard: Uncovering the Insured?This policy brief describes a new standard passed by Tennessee’s legislature for determining whether an item or service is “medically necessary” under the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare. The brief concludes with some questions regarding the implications of the new standard for the populations…

The Impact of Recent Changes in Health Care Coverage for Low-Income People:  A First Look at the Research Following Changes in Oregon’s Medicaid Program

The Impact of Recent Changes in Health Care Coverage for Low-Income People: A First Look at the Research Following Changes in Oregon's Medicaid ProgramOregon recently restructured its Medicaid program through a Section 1115 waiver and other program changes, largely in response to particularly difficult state budget problems. This report summarizes…

Recent Growth in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Service Waivers

Medicaid spending on home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers dominates spending on community-based long-term care services offered through the Medicaid program. This paper examines trends in HCBS waiver enrollment and spending in recent years. Report (.pdf)

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