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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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Understanding the Intersection of Medicaid and Work

Recent state requests for waivers of federal Medicaid law seek to make Medicaid eligibility contingent on work, and the Trump Administration has indicated a willingness to approve such waivers. This issue brief provides data on the work status of the nearly 25 million non-elderly adults without SSI enrolled in Medicaid to understand the potential implications of work requirement proposals in Medicaid. It shows that the majority of adults in this group are already working, and those who are not report major impediments to their ability to work such as illness or care-giving responsibilities.

Key Themes in Medicaid Section 1115 Behavioral Health Waivers

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.

How Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers Are Evolving: Early Insights About What to Watch

While efforts to pass major federal legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and restructure and reduce federal Medicaid financing may be on hold temporarily, the focus of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and states is expected to turn to achieving significant Medicaid program changes through Section 1115 demonstration waivers. This issue brief presents three questions to help analyze the evolution of federal waiver policy as new waiver proposals and decisions emerge.

Mapping Medicaid Delivery System and Payment Reform

This interactive provides state-by-state data on Medicaid delivery system and payment reform initiatives. Users can track state Medicaid managed care, patient-centered medical home (PCMH), Health Home, Accountable Care Organization (ACO), and Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) waiver activity.

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.

Medicaid Enrollees and Work Requirements: Lessons From the TANF Experience

This issue brief considers the implications of conditioning Medicaid eligibility on satisfying a work requirement, drawing on state experience with TANF enrollees subject to a work requirement over the past two decades and data about work and the role of health coverage among Medicaid enrollees today.

Proposed Changes to Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky

On June 22, 2016, Governor Bevin released his proposed Section 1115 demonstration waiver application called Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) as an alternative to the current Medicaid expansion which is being implemented through a state plan amendment according to the terms in the ACA. On July 3, 2017, Kentucky submitted an amendment, proposing several changes, to its pending waiver application to the new Administration. This fact sheet summarizes the proposed changes to the current Medicaid expansion in Kentucky.

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