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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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Coverage Gains Under Recent Section 1115 Waivers: A Data Update

This brief assesses the extent to which recent Section 1115 waivers have helped reduce the number of uninsured people and finds that there has been a net gain in coverage of 426,329 people under recent waivers.Issue Paper (.pdf)

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)

Pharmacy Plus Waivers: Trade Offs Between Expanding Rx Coverage and Global Caps in Medicaid

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…

Premiums and Cost-Sharing in Medicaid

Medicaid, the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income people, now covers nearly 60 million Americans, including many working families, low-income elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid beneficiaries tend to be poorer and sicker than those enrolled in private insurance. Given these characteristics, federal law limits the extent to which…

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