State Medicaid Programs Respond to Meet COVID-19 Challenges: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021

KFF commissioned Health Management Associates (HMA) to survey Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to identify and track trends in Medicaid spending, enrollment, and policy making. This is the 20th annual survey, each conducted at the beginning of the state fiscal year from FY 2002 through FY 2021. Additionally, eight mid-fiscal year surveys were conducted during state fiscal years 2002-2004 and 2009-2013, when a large share of states were considering mid-year Medicaid policy changes due to state budget and revenue shortfalls. Findings from previous surveys are referenced in this report when they help to highlight current trends. Archived copies of past reports are available on the following page.1

The KFF/HMA Medicaid survey on which this report is based was conducted from June through August 2020. The survey instrument (in Appendix B) was designed to primarily document policy actions implemented or adopted for FY 2021 (which began for most states on July 1, 2020).2 The survey captures information consistent with previous surveys, particularly for eligibility, provider payment rates, benefits, long-term care, and managed care, to provide some trend information. Each year, questions are added or revised to address current issues. This year, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the survey was scaled back in length and scope and a number of questions were added or reframed to capture information regarding state actions taken or planned in response to the pandemic.

Medicaid directors and staff provided data for this report in response to a written survey and, in some cases, follow-up emails seeking additional information or clarifications. Unlike the surveys conducted in prior years, the project team did not conduct follow-up telephone interviews. The survey was sent to each Medicaid director in June 2020 and 43 states 3 provided responses by mid-August 2020.

The survey does not attempt to catalog all Medicaid policies in place for each state. This report highlights certain policies in place in state Medicaid programs in FY 2020 and policy changes implemented or planned for FY 2021. Experience has shown that adopted policies are sometimes delayed or not implemented for reasons related to legal, fiscal, administrative, systems, or political considerations, or due to delays in approval from CMS. Policy changes under consideration without a definite decision to implement are not included in the survey. Given differences in the financing structure of their programs, the U.S. territories were not included in this analysis.

Challenges and Priorities in FY 2021 and Beyond Reported by Medicaid Directors and Conclusion Appendix A: Acronym Glossary

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