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Utilization and Spending Trends in Medicaid Outpatient Prescription Drugs

Although the outpatient drug benefit accounts for only 6% of total Medicaid spending, drug spending has increased by double digits in recent years, and is expected to grow faster than most other Medicaid services in the next 10 years. This issue brief examines drug spending and utilization from 2014 through 2017 by drug group, brand and generic status, and biologic status to understand the causes for this increase in spending.

Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waivers: 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. 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). This brief answers basic questions about Section 1115 waiver authority and discusses the current landscape of approved and pending demonstration waivers.

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.

CMS’s 2018 Proposed Medicaid Managed Care Rule: A Summary of Major Provisions

On November 14, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed revisions to the Medicaid managed care regulations with public comments due by January 14, 2019. CMS previously finalized a major revision to these regulations in 2016. The November 2018 proposed rule is not a wholesale revision of the 2016 final rule but proposes changes in the following key areas: network adequacy, beneficiary protections, quality oversight, and rate setting and payment.

Medicaid: What to Watch in 2019 from the Administration, Congress, and the States

Medicaid, the provider of health insurance coverage for about one in five Americans and the largest payer for long-term care services in the community and nursing homes, continues to be a key part of health policy debates at the federal and state level. Important Medicaid issues to watch in 2019 include Medicaid expansion developments amid ongoing litigation about the ACA’s constitutionality as well as Medicaid demonstration waiver activities, including those focused on work requirements and other eligibility restrictions. States are also likely to continue to pursue initiatives to address the opioid crisis, and the recent passage of bi-partisan legislation with new tools and financing could bolster these efforts. Primary areas of federal policy to watch in 2019 with implications for Medicaid include the expiration of temporary funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the absence of legislative action as well as potential regulatory changes to public charge policies that would likely lead to Medicaid enrollment declines among immigrant families. Finally, reforms in benefits, payment and delivery systems continue to evolve as states and the federal government focus on managed care, social determinants of health, prescription drugs, and community based long-term care. While beyond the scope of this brief, Congress and states could also consider broader health reform that could expand the role of public programs in health care including Medicare for All or Medicaid buy-in programs that could have significant implications for Medicaid.

Medicaid Work Requirements in Arkansas: Experience and Perspectives of Enrollees

This brief presents perspectives of enrollees and safety net providers about Arkansas’ new Section 1115 Medicaid waiver work and reporting requirements based on focus groups and interviews. The discussions examine enrollees’ awareness of the new requirements and ability to set up online accounts for monthly reporting; the effect of the new requirements on enrollees’ work and common barriers to work; enrollees’ experience with monthly reporting; impacts on particular populations, such as those with disabilities or who are homeless; and the anticipated effects of coverage losses resulting from the new requirements.

Re-approval of Kentucky Medicaid Demonstration Waiver

On January 12, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a Section 1115 demonstration waiver in Kentucky, entitled “Kentucky Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health” or KY HEALTH. On the same day that CMS approved Kentucky’s waiver, Governor Bevin issued an executive order directing the state to terminate the Medicaid expansion if a court decides that one or more of the waiver provisions are illegal and cannot be implemented. This fact sheet summarizes key provisions of Kentucky’s approved waiver.