COVID-19 Vaccination Updates
Yesterday, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to endorse the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents. CDC now recommends that this vaccine be used among this population and providers may begin vaccinating them right away. This follows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanding the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12- through 15-years of age on May 10. The Administration this week detailed new steps to meet a target of 70 percent of the U.S. adult population getting at least one vaccine dose by July 4 and announced an expansion of free rides from Uber and Lyft to vaccination sites and a partnership with community colleges to administer vaccines. In addition, funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will allow more on-the-ground efforts to promote vaccinations in communities, including use of phone banks, door-to-door canvassing, and pop-up vaccination sites in workplaces and churches.
CMS Issues Rule on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule for long-term care facilities and residential facilities serving clients with intellectual disabilities to educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, clients, and staff. These requirements align with existing requirements for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines in long-term care facilities. The interim final rule also requires long-term care facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Medicaid Postpartum Extension Tracker
This tracker from the Kaiser Family Foundation covers recent state actions to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage, including approved and pending section 1115 waivers, legislation that will require the state to seek federal approval through a state plan amendment or section 1115 waiver, and coverage financed solely with state funds. The American Rescue Plan Act gives states a new option to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months via a state plan amendment. This new option takes effect on April 1, 2022 and is available to states for five years.
HHS Announces More Than One Million Health Insurance Signups During Special Enrollment Period
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that more than one million Americans signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov since the start of the 2021 Marketplace Special Enrollment Period on February 15. Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), most consumers are now eligible for more generous advance payments of premium tax credits, which further reduce monthly premiums, and it also makes it more affordable for new consumers to purchase and use Marketplace coverage.
Potential Implications of Policy Changes in Medicaid Drug Purchasing
This issue brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation examines the potential impact of federal and state policy options related to Medicaid drug rebates, price transparency, and targeting drug prices. Prescription drug costs have been a focus for state Medicaid programs before COVID-19 and there may be renewed state interest in examining policy options that would reduce Medicaid drug spending to address fiscal constraints and meet demands for other pandemic-related spending.
Examining Additional Access of Long-Term Services and Supports
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) report examines the movement from institutional settings to home and community-based services (HCBS). Federal officials, national-level stakeholders, state officials, and state-level stakeholders reported a variety of barriers that affect states’ efforts to increase access to HCBS for Medicaid beneficiaries. The report looks at five states (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, and West Virginia) to better understand the barriers and opportunities of moving toward greater use of HCBS.
Medicaid and State Financing Indicators
This brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation presents the most current data for key indicators to help understand how various economic factors that could affect Medicaid enrollment and spending are changing in light of the pandemic. The brief looks at unemployment rates, sectors of the economy most affected by the pandemic, and recent changes in state revenues.