Disparities Policy

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Medicaid Financing Cliff: Implications for the Health Care Systems in Puerto Rico and USVI

This brief provides an overview of the status of the health care systems and Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) about one and a half years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the islands in September 2017. The hurricanes exacerbated the territories’ existing economic and health care challenges by accelerating outmigration of residents and health care providers and destroying homes, schools, health care facilities, and other infrastructure. After the storms, the territories’ Medicaid programs have served as important resources for addressing residents’ health care needs, but they have operated under longstanding financing challenges. This brief focuses on these challenges and includes KFF analysis of the implications for the territories’ Medicaid program finances, as most of the temporary federal Medicaid funds provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and disaster relief are set to expire at the end of September 2019. The other U.S. territories (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam) also face challenges tied to the scheduled expiration of ACA funds.

A First Look at North Carolina’s Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver’s Healthy Opportunities Pilots

Medicaid funds typically cannot be used to pay for non-medical interventions that target the social determinants of health. However, in October 2018, CMS approved North Carolina’s Section 1115 waiver which provides financing for a new pilot program, called “Healthy Opportunities Pilots,” to cover evidence-based non-medical services that address specific social needs linked to health/health outcomes. The pilots will address housing instability, transportation insecurity, food insecurity, and interpersonal violence and toxic stress for a limited number of high-need Medicaid enrollees. This brief summarizes key features of the pilots.

Health Coverage of Immigrants

This brief provides an overview of health coverage for noncitizens and discusses key issues for health coverage and care for immigrant families today

Changes in Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity since Implementation of the ACA, 2013-2017

People of color historically have been more likely to be uninsured and to face more barriers accessing care than Whites. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) health coverage expansions provided an opportunity to help reduce these disparities. This brief examines changes in health coverage since the implementation of the ACA by race and ethnicity and discusses the implications for health coverage disparities.

Medicaid in the Territories: Program Features, Challenges, and Changes

This brief draws on a survey of and interviews with Medicaid officials in U.S. Territories, as well as other research, to examine key issues and trends in their Medicaid programs. Territories differ from the states on key demographic, economic, and health status indicators. Unlike in the states, where federal Medicaid funding is not capped, and the federal share varies based on states’ per capita income, Medicaid in the territories is subject to a statutory cap and a fixed federal matching rate.