Deborah Bachrach Discusses States' Interest in Medicaid Bridge Plan

Deborah Bachrach Discusses States' Interest in Medicaid Bridge Plan

"CMS Okays Medicaid Bridge Plan Pitched by TN to Address Churn With Exchange"
Inside Health Reform

January 2, 2013 - Manatt's Deborah Bachrach, a partner in the firm's Healthcare Division, discussed with Inside Health Reform why states are expressing interest in a Medicaid "bridge" plan pitched by Tennessee.

Inside Health Reform reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is allowing state exchanges to permit Medicaid managed care organizations to offer limited-enrollment plans to certain populations that would serve as a "bridge" between public programs, such as Medicaid and CHIP and private health insurance. The option, which was crafted and pitched by Tennessee, is a different way to deal with individuals "churning" between public programs and private health coverage.

The bridge plan is similar to the health reform law's Basic Health Program in its goals. The Basic Health Program is a voluntary option in the health law for states that would take individuals with incomes between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level out of the exchange and provide them coverage through a separate state-run plan. It would be financed with 95 percent of the insurance subsidies that would otherwise be spent on that population in the exchange. 

Bachrach, a former New York Medicaid director, said the health reform law also does not appear to allow any of the money for the Basic Health Program to be used for administrative costs, which makes it less attractive for states. Several states have expressed interest, however, in finding out more about Tennessee's idea, she told Inside Health Reform.

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