This policy brief provides an overview of recent Section 1115 waivers and a discussion of key issues. The HIFA initiative, combined with state fiscal pressures, have led to an increase in the number of states seeking Section 1115 waivers. Many of these recent waivers stake out new ground in terms of the scope of changes in coverage that they permit.
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; however, it is not yet clear what role Section 1115 waivers will play as the new administration and Congress move to repeal the ACA and debate possible broader changes to Medicaid financing. 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.
Featured Waivers Resources
This issue brief focuses on Section 1115 waivers that implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and highlights themes in approved, pending, and denied provisions to date as well as key issues to watch looking ahead. Additional detail about each state’s waiver is provided in the Appendix tables.
Seven states (Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, and New Hampshire) currently are implementing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion through a Section 1115 demonstration waiver. The previous Administration denied Ohio’s waiver application. Two states (Kentucky and Indiana) currently have Medicaid expansion waivers pending before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
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Related Waivers Resources
- An Early Look at Medicaid Expansion Waiver Implementation in Michigan and Indiana
- Proposed Changes to Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky
- Medicaid Expansion Waivers: What Will We Learn?
- CMS’s Denial of Proposed Changes to Medicaid Expansion in Ohio
- Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: Overview and Key Issues in Medicaid Expansion Waivers
- Medicaid Premium Assistance Programs: What Information is Available About Benefit and Cost-Sharing Wrap-Around Coverage?
- A Look at the Private Option in Arkansas
- Medicaid Section 1115 Managed Long-Term Services and Supports Waivers: A Survey of Enrollment, Spending, and Program Policies
- Key Themes From Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Waivers in 4 States
- An Overview of Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Waivers
- Michigan’s Medicaid Section 1115 Waiver to Address Effects of Lead Exposure in Flint
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. This brief answers key questions about Section 1115 waiver authority, the current landscape of demonstration waivers and what to watch going forward.
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The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has been monitoring the development of the Pharmacy Plus waiver initiated by the Bush Administration in 2002 and tracking the states that have pending or approved plans. The Commission has developed some materials describing the initiative, examining the financing mechanism, and discussing…
Utah Section 1115 Waiver Fact Sheet (.pdf)
Oregon Section 1115 Waiver
This brief focuses on one subset of “flexibility” issues: the current federal benefits and cost-sharing rules that apply with respect to long-term care.Issue Paper (.pdf)
An Overview of the Independence Plus Initiative to Promote Consumer-Direction of Services in Medicaid
This issue brief provides an overview of the Independence Plus Initiative, compares core program features with the Cash and Counseling Demonstration program, and discusses several policy issues that arise in the implementation of this initiative.Issue Paper (.pdf)
This policy brief provides background on Section 1115 Medicaid waiver activity, discusses the common provisions of the approved and proposed Section 1115 waivers since 1993, and briefly summarizes the current application of Section 1115 AFDC waivers. It also examines implications of the Section 1115 waivers on the Medicaid program and…
Cindy Mann, senior fellow of the Commission, testified to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Health of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on how to sustain and expand health care coverage for low-income children and families, and disabled and elderly people in these challenging times.
Fact Sheet (.pdf)
Fact Sheet (.pdf)