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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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The New Medicaid and CHIP Waiver Initiatives

A new report describes past waiver activity, the principles of the new HIFA initiative, and related policy implications. Background Paper Appendix: Side-by-Side Comparison

Assessing the Role of Recent Waivers in Providing New Coverage

This analysis finds that recent waivers have expanded coverage in important ways in a few states, but, overall, the number of people who have gained new coverage under recent waivers has been quite limited, well below projections and small compared to overall growth in Medicaid enrollment.Issue Paper (.pdf)

Key Themes in Capitated Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports Waivers

This issue brief analyzes key themes in 19 capitated § 1115 and § 1915(b)/(c) Medicaid managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) waivers approved to date by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with a focus on covered populations and services, provisions aimed at expanding beneficiary access to HCBS, beneficiary protections, and quality measurement and oversight.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.