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Children with Special Health Care Needs: Coverage, Affordability, and HCBS Access

This issue brief provides context for ongoing policy discussions by describing key characteristics of children with special health care needs, comparing insurance affordability and access to key benefits among those covered by Medicaid/CHIP and those with private insurance, and considering the implications of additional Medicaid HCBS funding for children with special health care needs.

Direct Care Workforce Shortages Have Worsened in Many States During the Pandemic, Hampering Providers of Home and Community-Based Services

During the pandemic many states have experienced worsening direct care workforce shortages that have affected providers of home- and community-based long-term care services (HCBS), according to early findings of a new KFF survey of Medicaid HCBS programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Most states reported workforce…

State Medicaid Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) Programs Respond to COVID-19: Early Findings from a 50-State Survey

This issue brief presents early findings from the most recent KFF survey of Medicaid HCBS programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It focuses on state policies adopted in response to challenges posed by the pandemic, the pandemic’s impact on Medicaid HCBS enrollees and providers, and states’ initial plans for the new American Rescue Plan Act 10 percentage point temporary increase in federal Medicaid matching funds for HCBS available from April 2021 through March 2022.

State Options to Expand Medicaid HCBS: Examples & Evaluations of Section 1115 Waivers

States are currently developing plans to access an increased federal matching rate (“FMAP”) for Medicaid HCBS spending established in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. In the future, states may also be able to access increased HCBS funds proposed in the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan and the Better Care Better Jobs Act recently introduced in Congress. This brief highlights examples of Medicaid HCBS policy changes authorized through Section 1115 demonstration waivers in seven states (Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington). Where available, we discuss waiver evaluation findings and reports that assess the impact of these policy changes.

Supplemental Security Income for People with Disabilities: Implications for Medicaid

This issue brief describes key characteristics of SSI enrollees, explains the SSI eligibility criteria and eligibility determination process, and considers the implications of changes in the SSI program for Medicaid, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn as well as proposals supported by President Biden that Congress might consider.

Recent and Anticipated Actions to Reverse Trump Administration Section 1557 Non-Discrimination Rules

The Biden Administration has started taking steps to reverse Trump Administration policy and regulations that significantly narrowed the implementation and administrative enforcement of Section 1557, the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provision, particularly as the regulations apply to gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition, several lawsuits challenging the regulations, which…

Potential Impact of Additional Federal Funds for Medicaid HCBS for Seniors and People with Disabilities

The American Rescue Plan includes a provision to increase the federal matching rate (FMAP) for spending on Medicaid HCBS by 10 percentage points from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022 provided states maintain state spending levels as of April 1, 2021. This brief discusses the proposal and provides state by state estimates of the potential effects of the policy change. It was updated on May 28 to include key points from the new CMS guidance about how states can access the funds and examples of how funds can be used.

Many Nonelderly People With Disabilities Face COVID-19 Risks Similar to Those of the Elderly in Nursing Homes, But Do Not Have Equal Footing When it Comes to Vaccine Priority

While the toll of COVID-19 on nursing home residents has been well documented, less noticed has been the experience of nonelderly people with disabilities who rely on long-term care services and supports outside of nursing homes. In many ways the two groups face similar health risks from the virus, but…

COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities

This issue brief presents current state-level data about COVID-19 cases and deaths in settings that primarily serve nonelderly people with disabilities and summarizes available research on this population’s elevated risk of severe illness and death; explains how nonelderly people with disabilities and their LTSS providers are reflected in state vaccine prioritization plans; and discusses key issues related to vaccine access for these populations.

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