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
State interest in Medicaid Section 1115 behavioral health waivers, including mental health and substance use disorders, remains high. As of November, 2017, there are 15 approved and 11 pending behavioral health waivers in 22 states. This issue brief describes recent waiver activity in four areas: using Medicaid funds to pay for substance use and/or mental health services in “institutions for mental disease” (IMDs), expanding community-based behavioral health benefits, expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover additional people with behavioral health needs, and financing delivery system reforms.
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Related Waivers Resources
- Medicaid Retroactive Coverage Waivers: Implications for Beneficiaries, Providers, and States
- Section 1115 Medicaid Expansion Waivers: A Look at Key Themes and State Specific Waiver Provisions
- How Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers Are Evolving: Early Insights About What to Watch
- Medicaid and Work Requirements
- Medicaid Enrollees and Work Requirements: Lessons From the TANF Experience
- 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
- 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
Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waivers: A Look at the Current Landscape of Approved and Pending Waivers
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. This brief answers basic questions about Section 1115 waiver authority and discusses the current landscape of approved and pending demonstration waivers.
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Massachusetts is the first state to finalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to test CMS’s capitated financial alignment model for beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, with enrollment beginning on April 1, 2013. Starting in 2013, CMS will…Issue Brief Read More
For many years, Section 1115 waivers have been used in the Medicaid program to provide states an avenue to test and implement coverage approaches that do not meet federal program rules, but there have been longstanding concerns about the lack of public input and transparency in the waiver approval process.…Fact Sheet Read More
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured is closely following waiver activity to provide information on how these waivers are impacting the uninsured and affecting Medicaid and SCHIP and the coverage provided to low-income beneficiaries. Tennessee Section 1115 Waiver Amendment Proposal Fact SheetCalifornia Section 1115 Waiver Fact SheetColorado Section…Issue Brief Read More
This fact sheet summarizes and compares seventeen states’ approved Medicaid waivers related to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.Fact Sheet (.pdf)Fact Sheet Read More
Massachusetts and Washington: Financial Alignment Demonstrations for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries Compared
This fact sheet examines the similarities and differences between the five-year demonstrations in Massachusetts and Washington state to integrate care and align financing for people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The states finalized memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in fall 2012, and…Fact Sheet Read More
A few recent state Medicaid initiatives have emerged that take the program into new directions. States have expressed a number of objectives in developing these approaches, including offering beneficiaries greater choice, promoting personal responsibility and healthier behaviors among enrollees, and, in some cases, relying more heavily on the private marketplace.…Issue Brief Read More
The Vermont Choices for Care Long-Term Care Plan: Key Program Changes and QuestionsThis fact sheet summarizes Vermont’s Section 1115 waiver to make fundamental changes to its Medicaid program that provides long-term services and supports to eligible, low-income state residents. The waiver was designed to increase access to home and community-based…Fact Sheet Read More
This new fact sheet summarizes Tennessee’s proposed waiver amendment to its TennCare program, which was submitted to the federal government in September 2004.Fact Sheet Read More
This issue paper examines the policies in the HIFA waiver initiative that provide incentives for states to use Medicaid/SCHIP funds to assist in the purchase of private insurance options. It also reports on how states have responded to these new policies and what key policy questions are raised about premium…Issue Brief Read More