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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:  Current Benefits and Flexibility

Medicaid: Current Benefits and FlexibilityTwo issue briefs discuss the minimum requirements for states to receive federal Medicaid matching funds and the options states have under federal law and waivers to tailor their Medicaid programs.Medicaid as a Health Insurer: Current Benefits and FlexibilityMedicaid as a Long-term Care Program: Current Benefits and…

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…

Federal Core Requirements And State Options In Medicaid: Current Policies And Key Issues

Medicaid is a jointly financed partnership between the federal government and states. The federal-state financing and administrative structure of Medicaid provides a framework of federal core requirements along with broad state options for program design and administration. This issue brief presents an overview of the current Medicaid program framework, with…

Section 1115 Medicaid and SCHIP Waivers: Policy Implications of Recent Activities

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.

Medicaid 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Service Programs: Data Update

Over the last four years, the Commission has been tracking the national development of the three main Medicaid HCBS programs that states can operate. The Commission also began to survey the policies, such as eligibility criteria and waiting lists that states can use to control the growth of spending on…

Premium Assistance Programs:  How Are They Financed and Do States Save Money?

Premium Assistance Programs: How Are They Financed and Do States Save Money?This brief examines premium assistance programs implemented under section 1115 waivers in five states (Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah) to determine how they are financed; their eligibility, benefit, and cost sharing requirements; their methods for determining cost-effectiveness;…

The Role of Section 1115 Waivers in Medicaid and CHIP: Looking Back and Looking Forward

For many years, Section 1115 waivers have been used in the Medicaid program, and to a lesser degree in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to provide states an avenue to test and implement coverage approaches that do not meet federal program rules. While these waivers have facilitated important program evolutions…

California's "Bridge to Reform" Medicaid Demonstration Waiver

This issue brief provides an overview of California’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid Demonstration Waiver, which was approved in 2010 and will make up to roughly $8 billion in federal Medicaid matching funds available to California over a five-year period to expand coverage to low-income uninsured adults and preserve and improve…

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