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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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The Impact of Recent Changes in Health Care Coverage for Low-Income People:  A First Look at the Research Following Changes in Oregon’s Medicaid Program

The Impact of Recent Changes in Health Care Coverage for Low-Income People: A First Look at the Research Following Changes in Oregon's Medicaid ProgramOregon recently restructured its Medicaid program through a Section 1115 waiver and other program changes, largely in response to particularly difficult state budget problems. This report summarizes…

Coverage Gains Under Recent Section 1115 Waivers: A Data Update

This brief assesses the extent to which recent Section 1115 waivers have helped reduce the number of uninsured people and finds that there has been a net gain in coverage of 426,329 people under recent waivers.Issue Paper (.pdf)

Medicaid Section 1115 Waivers: Current Issues

This fact sheet provides a brief introduction to Section 1115 waivers in the Medicaid program and highlights policy issues related to recent waiver activity. Fact Sheet (.pdf)

The New Medicaid and CHIP Waiver Initiatives

A new report describes past waiver activity, the principles of the new HIFA initiative, and related policy implications. Background Paper Appendix: Side-by-Side Comparison

Section 1115 Medicaid and SCHIP Waivers: Policy Implications of Recent Activities

This policy brief provides an overview of recent Section 1115 waivers and a discussion of key issues. The HIFA initiative, combined with state fiscal pressures, have led to an increase in the number of states seeking Section 1115 waivers. Many of these recent waivers stake out new ground in terms of the scope of changes in coverage that they permit.

Choosing Premium Assistance: What Does State Experience Tell Us?

Premium assistance programs use federal and state Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to purchase private coverage. Overall, few states have premium assistance programs, but interest in premium assistance remains high. This brief examines six state premium assistance programs (in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia)…

Health Affairs Article: Florida’s Medicaid Reform: Informed Consumer Choice?

Health Affairs Article: Florida's Medicaid Reform: Informed Consumer Choice?Florida's Medicaid reform program aims to encourage consumer choice and market competition by giving health plans new authority to vary benefits and having enrollees choose among the different plans. However, about three in 10 enrollees were not aware that they needed to…

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…

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