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.
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
- Medicaid Waiver Requests in Wisconsin and Maine Seek to Impose Work Requirements and Time Limits for Beneficiaries
- Don’t Expect Medicaid Work Requirements to Make a Big Difference
- 3 Key Questions: Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waivers
- 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
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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)Issue Brief Read More
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)Fact Sheet Read More
The Financing of Pharmacy Plus Waivers: Trade Offs Between Expanding Rx Coverage and Global Caps in Medicaid
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This brief focuses on one subset of “flexibility” issues: the current federal benefits and cost-sharing rules that apply with respect to long-term care.Issue Paper (.pdf)Issue Brief Read More
An Overview of the Independence Plus Initiative to Promote Consumer-Direction of Services in Medicaid
This issue brief provides an overview of the Independence Plus Initiative, compares core program features with the Cash and Counseling Demonstration program, and discusses several policy issues that arise in the implementation of this initiative.Issue Paper (.pdf)Issue Brief Read More
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…Issue Brief Read More
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…Issue Brief Read More
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…Issue Brief Read More