For many years, Section 1115 waivers have been used in the Medicaid program to provide states an avenue to test and implement coverage approaches that do not meet federal program rules, but there have been longstanding concerns about the lack of public input and transparency in the waiver approval process.…
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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Fact Sheet (.pdf)
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured is closely following waiver activity to provide information on how these waivers are impacting the uninsured and affecting Medicaid and SCHIP and the coverage provided to low-income beneficiaries. Tennessee Section 1115 Waiver Amendment Proposal Fact SheetCalifornia Section 1115 Waiver Fact SheetColorado Section…
The Vermont Choices for Care Long-Term Care Plan: Key Program Changes and QuestionsThis fact sheet summarizes Vermont’s Section 1115 waiver to make fundamental changes to its Medicaid program that provides long-term services and supports to eligible, low-income state residents. The waiver was designed to increase access to home and community-based…
This new fact sheet summarizes Tennessee’s proposed waiver amendment to its TennCare program, which was submitted to the federal government in September 2004.
This issue paper examines the policies in the HIFA waiver initiative that provide incentives for states to use Medicaid/SCHIP funds to assist in the purchase of private insurance options. It also reports on how states have responded to these new policies and what key policy questions are raised about premium…
A Case Study of the Utah Primary Care Network Waiver: Insights into Its Development, Design, and Implementation
This report examines the creation and implementation of Utah’s waiver through interviews with key stakeholders and an analysis of state enrollment data and quarterly reports. Also see Health Affairs article, Can States Stretch the Medicaid Dollar Without Passing the Buck? Lessons from UtahReport (.pdf)
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…
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)
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)