New ACA Enrollment Figures Announced in Mar HHS Report and CBO Announces Lower ACA Cost Estimates


In a report released on March 10, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), almost 11.7 million consumers nationwide selected or were automatically enrolled in health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace as of February 22, 2015. According to the report, 8.84 million (76%) of the enrollees were in states using the platform, while 2.85 million (24%) were in the 14 states (including DC) using their own marketplace platforms. [More]


Office of Inspector General Audit Reveals Children in Foster Care Lack Required Health Screenings


On March 2, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit indicating that a significant number of foster children do not receive required health screenings. The audit included a sample of 100 children from each of the four large states (California, Illinois, New York, and Texas) selected for a period between July 1, 2011 and June 20, 2012. The review also considered how the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) ensures that children in foster care receive required screenings. [More]


HHS Report Updates ACA Impact on Medicaid/CHIP Enrollments


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), released on February 23, 2015 a report showing that 27 jurisdictions (26 states and the District of Columbia) which implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by December 2014 saw on average a 27.01 percent increase in Medicaid/CHIP enrollments for December 2014, as compared to their average monthly enrollments in a July – September 2013 baseline period. [More]

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HHS Releases New Data on Exchange Enrollments


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data on February 18, 2015 showing that 11.4 million persons selected or re-enrolled in qualified health plans offered through federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) or state-based Exchanges (SBEs) during the November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015 open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]


U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Significant ACA Case of KING v. BURWELL


On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell. This case considers the issue of whether the language in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), “an Exchange established by the State,” requires a finding that the subsidies established by the ACA may only be provided in states where the health insurance exchange is founded by the states themselves and not by the federal government. [More]


CMS Issues Final Rule for ACA Marketplace Standards in 2016


In the February 27, 2015 Federal Register, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule establishing new consumer standards as well as requirements for issuers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces for 2016. (80 Fed. Reg. 10750). Pursuant to current requirements, health insurance issuers seeking a rate hike of 10% or more in the individual or small group market must publicly disclose and justify the increases. [More]


GAO Addresses Federal Response to Working with Tribes


On February 25, 2015, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report outlining several tribes’ efforts to develop an independent child welfare system. When Fostering Successful Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections) was passed, the legislation included significant changes to how Native American Tribes could address child abuse/neglect and foster care within the Tribe. Fostering Connections authorized tribes to actually implement and operate a comprehensive system of care for the continuum of child welfare services. Part of the legislation provided an appropriation of $3 million per year for up to ten grants to tribes interested in pursuing their own program. Since the grants became available in October 2009, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has awarded development grants to 27 tribes. Each of the tribes are at different stages of development within the 24-month grant period. [More]


DHHS Secretary Announces $28 Million Grant Program to Advance Health Information Exchange


On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced at a meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) a two-year grant program to advance the adoption and use of interoperable health IT tools and services to support health information exchange. [More]

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Who’s to Blame for Child Abuse and Neglect Resulting in Child Death?


The media attention that a child death obtains is different for every situation. When it is accidental, the local media may report on it, but it is often not highlighted for days. The death of child who is known to a state child welfare agency typically brings the state agency under tremendous scrutiny for failing the child in some way – agency leadership gets fired, workers get fired or suspended, and in some cases, workers are prosecuted for contributing to the death of a child or for malicious neglect. Recently, a state agency administrator of child protection was quoted as saying, “Parents are to blame for the injuries or death of their children.” [More]


CMS Issues Bulletin to States Re: Medicare-Eligible Medicaid Enrollees


On January 23, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a bulletin to states entitled, “Enrollment and Retention Flexibilities to Better Serve Medicare-Eligible Medicaid Enrollees.” It is noted in the bulletin that when Medicaid enrollees in the new adult low-income group become eligible for Medicare, they lose eligibility for that category of Medicaid. [More]

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