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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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Transitioning Beneficiaries with Complex Care Needs to Medicaid Managed Care: Insights from California

This brief examines how health service providers, plan administrators, and community-based organizations in Contra Costa, Kern, and Los Angeles Counties experienced the transition of Medi-Cal-only seniors and persons with disabilities (SPDs) to managed care as part of the state’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid waiver. Findings presented may inform similar transitions of high-need beneficiaries in other states and coverage expansions in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

California’s Health Care Environment and Health Reform Efforts: June 2013 Update

This brief provides and update of the health care and health policy environment in California, discussing the budgetary environment, implementation of the state’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid waiver, and efforts to prepare for coverage expansions and new coverage options in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

Choosing Premium Assistance: What Does State Experience Tell Us?

Premium assistance programs use federal and state Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to purchase private coverage. Overall, few states have premium assistance programs, but interest in premium assistance remains high. This brief examines six state premium assistance programs (in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia)…

Health Affairs Article: Florida’s Medicaid Reform: Informed Consumer Choice?

Health Affairs Article: Florida's Medicaid Reform: Informed Consumer Choice?Florida's Medicaid reform program aims to encourage consumer choice and market competition by giving health plans new authority to vary benefits and having enrollees choose among the different plans. However, about three in 10 enrollees were not aware that they needed to…

Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Six Years Later

In 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts’ comprehensive health reform designed to provide near-universal health insurance coverage for state residents. Building on a long history of health reform efforts, the state embarked on an ambitious plan to promote shared individual, employer, and government responsibility. This brief examines Massachusetts’ experience with…

Restructuring Medicaid: Key Elements and Issues in Section 1115 Demonstration Waivers

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…

Vermont’s Global Commitment Waiver: Implications for the Medicaid Program

This issue brief provides some general background on Vermont's Medicaid program and the Global Commitment waiver; answers a series of key questions about how it is designed to work; and discusses the potential implications for the state of Vermont, beneficiaries, and the Medicaid program.In the fall of 2005, Vermont secured…

Quick Take: Medicaid MCOs and Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements

One mechanism for ensuring that health insurance provides value to consumers for the premiums that they pay, or that others pay on their behalf, is to require insurers to meet a minimum “medical loss ratio” or MLR standard. The MLR is the share of premium revenues that an insurer or…

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