Rhode Island and Vermont consider state-level individual insurance mandates; Utahns support full Medicaid expansion; CMS approves a first-of-its-kind 10-year Medicaid waiver for Mississippi.
Rhode Island and Vermont are both considering state-based individual insurance mandates that require residents to have health insurance. AP reported that Vermont lawmakers fear a drop in coverage that could cause private health insurance premiums to increase. Providence Business News reported that Rhode Island is reporting record numbers of new and younger enrollees and concerns that the elimination of the individual mandate will cause those people to no longer seek coverage and drive up premiums, causing the state to review the possibility of a state-based mandate.
A recent poll has found that 59% of Utahns support expanding Medicaid. According to The Hill, activists hoping to expand the program have until mid-April 2018 to get the required signatures to get the issue on the November 2018 ballot. The Utah Senate passed an expansion plan a few years ago that the Republican-controlled House was able to put an end to the movement. Fully expanding Medicaid would mean raising the state sales tax from 4.7% to 4.85%.
Mississippi has been granted a 10-year Medicaid waiver, which is the first of its kind. The waiver is part of the agency’s new effort to provide states with greater flexibility, according to CMS. Mississippi’s waiver provides further coverage of family planning services and extends eligibility for low-income women and men between the ages of 13 and 44 who are not enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or other qualifying health plans. Historically, the agency granted waivers that were good for 5 years.