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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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Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Six Years Later

In 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts’ comprehensive health reform designed to provide near-universal health insurance coverage for state residents. Building on a long history of health reform efforts, the state embarked on an ambitious plan to promote shared individual, employer, and government responsibility. This brief examines Massachusetts’ experience with…

Quick Take: Medicaid MCOs and Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements

One mechanism for ensuring that health insurance provides value to consumers for the premiums that they pay, or that others pay on their behalf, is to require insurers to meet a minimum “medical loss ratio” or MLR standard. The MLR is the share of premium revenues that an insurer or…

The Texas Health Care Landscape

This fact sheet summarizes the Texas health care landscape, including data on demographics, population health, the uninsured and the state Medicaid program. Fact Sheet (.pdf)

California and Texas: Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waivers Compared

This fact sheet compares and contrasts key provisions of the California and Texas Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers. The Texas waiver, approved in December 2011, is modeled, in part, on the California waiver, which has been underway in that state since November 2010. Both waivers affect hundreds of thousands of…

State Options That Expand Access to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services

This background paper examines various aspects of the Medicaid program that can expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) and rebalance long-term care spending in favor of HCBS. As a result of the long-standing requirement that states cover facility-based care, the majority of Medicaid long-term care (LTC) expenditures historically…

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…

Five Key Questions And Answers About Section 1115 Medicaid Waivers

This issue brief provides an overview of what Section 1115 Medicaid waivers are, how they are approved and financed, how states have used them, and how they are impacted by health reform. For many years, Section 1115 waivers have been used by states to test new coverage approaches not otherwise…

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…

Briefing on State Medicaid Programs, the Recession and Health Reform

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) held a 9:30 a.m. ET briefing on Thursday, September 30 to examine the challenges facing states as they continue to struggle with the lingering impacts of the recession and begin preparing to implement health reform. Three reports were released…

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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.