AIS Newsletter Offers Analysis of New ACA-Created Health Programs in Minnesota, New York

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The August 2015 issue of Inside Health Insurance Exchanges offers analysis of Basic Health Program plans, a very under-utilized provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Late last month, the New York Department of Financial Services announced the launch of a new insurance plan — the Essential Plan — that would be available to that state’s poorest residents for the 2016 plan year. The Essential Plan was created under the little-used Basic Health Program (BHP) provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); so little-used that it’s only the second BHP in existence. The August 2015 issue of Atlantic Information Services, Inc.’s (AIS) Inside Health Insurance Exchanges (HEX) offers analysis of these two plans, in New York and Minnesota, including eligibility details.

Although BHPs were called for by the ACA, which was signed into law in 2010, final guidance on them wasn’t issued until this February, according to HEX. The ACA allows states to install a BHP for individuals earning between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, other government programs or employer-sponsored insurance.

New York and Minnesota “are unique at this point in time, and they have a set of circumstances where the BHP makes sense for them,” says Deborah Bachrach, a former New York Medicaid director, now a partner in the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Adding a BHP allows for New York to use federal funds to provide health care for low-income legal immigrants in an existing health care program and its state Medicaid program, she explains. Minnesota already had a program similar to a BHP, called MinnesotaCare, and lawmakers spent much of 2014 bringing it in line with the new requirements, the state said. The federal government took over half the cost for most adults without children on MinnesotaCare in August 2011 as part of the bridge to the ACA and the BHP funding opportunity. Moving some of those beneficiaries into a BHP allows federal dollars to cover 95% of the costs, according to HEX.

While other states might consider offering a BHP, Bachrach suggests they are more likely to wait until 2017, when they can apply for a State Innovation Waiver, which was also created by the ACA. State Innovation Waivers would allow a state to develop a BHP-esque program and receive 100% of the federal funds available, as opposed to the 95% allowed by the BHP provision.

Visit http://aishealth.com/archive/nhex0815-04 to read the article in its entirety, including more details on New York and Minnesota’s BHPs.

About Inside Health Insurance Exchanges
Inside Health Insurance Exchanges provides hard-hitting news and strategies on public and private health insurance exchanges, written for business leaders with health plans, pharma companies, hospitals and health systems, brokers and agents, and exchange managers and vendors. The newsletter delivers reliable intelligence on this critical cornerstone of health reform — the players and their partners, product designs and enrollment results, employer perspectives and much more. Visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/inside-health-insurance-exchanges for more information.

About AIS
Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for more than 25 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals, health plans, medical group practices, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, websites, looseleafs, books, strategic reports, databases, webinars and conferences. Learn more at http://AISHealth.com.

Contact
Jill Brown, Executive Editor
Atlantic Information Services, Inc.    
(202) 775-9008, ext. 3058
jbrown(at)aishealth(dot)com

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