U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.

FAQ Library

Showing 61 to 70 of 768 results

CMS has released 90/10 funding for states to improve their eligibility systems for Medicaid. Will that funding continue?

Yes. Both the "90/10" funding for Medicaid eligibility (E&E) system design and development, and the enhanced 75 percent matching rate for maintenance and operations of such systems, will be available indefinitely as long as the systems meet applicable program requirements.

In previous guidance (PDF, 104.38 KB), we have assured states that the 90/10 and 75/25 percent funding for eligibility systems will be available without regard to whether a state decides to expand its program to cover newly eligible low-income adults. We reiterate that system modernization will be supported and the enhanced matching funds will be available regardless of a state's decision on expansion. Additionally, we will continue exploring opportunities to provide states additional support for the administrative costs of eligibility changes.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94591

Do you still support the Medicaid blended FMAP (matching rate) proposal in your budget?

No. We continue to seek efficiencies and identify opportunities to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid, and we want to work with Congress, states, and stakeholders to achieve those goals while expanding access to affordable health care. The Supreme Court decision has made the higher matching rates available in the Affordable Care Act for the new groups covered even more important to incentivize states to expand Medicaid coverage. The Administration is focused on implementing the Affordable Care Act and providing assistance to states in their efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to these new groups.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94576

Does HHS plan to further extend deadlines for states to decide on their level of involvement in implementing Exchanges?

No. As mentioned in the two letters that Secretary Sebelius sent to governors in November 2012, states have been and will continue to be partners in implementing the health care law and we are committed to providing states with the flexibility, resources and time they need to deliver the benefits of the health care law to the American people.

In response to various governors' requests for additional time, we extended the deadline for a Blueprint Application to operate a State-Based Exchange from November 16, 2012 to December 14, 2012. If a state is pursuing a State Partnership Exchange, we will accept Declaration Letters and Blueprint Applications and make approval determinations for State Partnership Exchanges on a rolling basis. A state that plans to operate the Exchange in its state in partnership with the federal government starting in 2014 will need to submit its Declaration Letter and Blueprint Application declaring what partnership role they would like to have by February 15, 2013.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94401

Does the federal government intend to maintain the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program beyond 2014? How will state high risk pools be affected by the affordability and insurance market reforms in 2014?

Under the Affordable Care Act, coverage for persons under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program (whether federally-run or state-run in a state) will generally not extend beyond January 1, 2014, which is when all individuals will be able to access coverage without any pre-existing condition exclusions in the individual market. The transitional reinsurance program is expected to help stabilize premiums in the individual market by reimbursing issuers who enroll high cost individuals, such as those currently enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, as they enter that market.

In the notice of proposed rulemaking on the health insurance market rules (77 Fed. Reg. 70584; November 26, 2012), we noted that we are exploring ways in which states could continue to run their existing high risk pools (i.e., separate from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Pool program) beyond 2014.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94491

How are Exchanges going to increase insurance market competition based on quality and cost? Some markets may be starting off from a position of having few local issuers.

The introduction of Exchanges and the insurance market rules in 2014 will help promote competition based on quality and cost since consumers will have an unprecedented ability to compare similar products from different issuers and will be assured the right to purchase these products, regardless of their health condition. Further, consumers in many states will have new options such as the ability to purchase coverage from the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans and Multi-State Plans created under the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, Exchanges can leverage market forces to drive further transformation in health care delivery.

We anticipate that the number of individuals who will be eligible for advance payments of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions - which are only available in connection with qualified health plan coverage purchased through an Exchange - will attract issuers to Exchanges where the certification process will encourage and reward high quality affordable insurance offerings. In addition, HHS is developing a Star Ratings system for qualified health plans purchased in an Exchange pursuant to section 1311(c)(3) of the Affordable Care Act.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94456

How can states use premium assistance to help families that are split among the Exchange, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enroll in the same plans?

In 2014, some low-income children will be covered by Medicaid or CHIP while their parents obtain coverage on the Exchange with advance payments of the premium tax credit. Premium assistance, an option under current law, provides an opportunity for state Medicaid and CHIP programs to offer coverage to such families through the same coverage source, even if supported by different payers. Under Medicaid and CHIP statutory options, states can use federal and state Medicaid and CHIP funds to deliver Medicaid and CHIP coverage through the purchase of private health insurance. Most commonly, states have used premium assistance to help Medicaid/CHIP eligible families pay for available employer-based coverage that the state determines is cost effective. There are cost sharing assistance and benefit wrap-around coverage requirements, to the extent that the insurance purchased with Medicaid and/or CHIP funds does not meet Medicaid or CHIP standards. In both Medicaid and CHIP, premium assistance is authorized for group health coverage and, under some authorities, for health plans in the individual market, which, in 2014 would include qualified health plans available through the Exchange. Please note that advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are not available for an individual who is eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. The statutory authorities that permit use of title XIX or title XXI funds to be used for premium assistance for health plans in the individual market, including qualified health plans in the Exchange, are sections 1905(a) and 2105(c)(3) of the Social Security Act.

For example, beginning in 2014, when a child is eligible for Medicaid/CHIP and the parent is enrolled in a qualified health plan through the Exchange, a state Medicaid or CHIP program could use existing premium assistance authority to purchase coverage for a Medicaid or CHIP-eligible child through that qualified health plan. The premium tax credit would not be available to help cover the cost of coverage for these children. As noted above, with respect to the children, the state would adhere to federal standards for premium assistance, including providing wrap-around benefits, cost sharing assistance, and demonstrating cost-effectiveness, as appropriate. A State-Based Exchange may be able to support such an option, and in states where a Federally-Facilitated Exchange is operating, a State Medicaid or CHIP agency may be able to take this approach by making arrangements with qualified health plans to pay premiums for individuals. We will be working with states interested in this option to consider how the state Medicaid and CHIP agency can coordinate with the Exchange to establish and simplify premium assistance arrangements.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94631

How can states use premium assistance to promote continuity of care when individuals move between Exchange, CHIP, and Medicaid coverage?

The Affordable Care Act envisions and directs that there be a coordinated system for making eligibility determinations between Medicaid, CHIP and the Exchange to avoid gaps in coverage as individuals' income fluctuates. Smooth eligibility transitions will not necessarily prevent people from having to select a new plan and/or provider when they lose eligibility for one insurance affordability program and gain eligibility for another. The extent to which such changes in plans and providers occur will depend on whether and to what degree plans participate in both the Exchange and in Medicaid and CHIP, and the networks in such plans.

Premium assistance can help address this issue, while encouraging robust plan participation in Medicaid, CHIP, and the Exchange. As discussed above, this option permits state Medicaid or CHIP programs to use premium assistance to enroll a Medicaid or CHIP eligible individual or family in a qualified health plan through the Exchange. States may be most interested in this option for families close to the top of the Medicaid income limit. Under this arrangement, if a family's income changes such that some or all members of the family become ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP and eligible for a premium tax credit to help cover the cost of a qualified health plan through the Exchange, it would be less likely that members moving into Exchange coverage would need to change plans or providers.

Similarly, premium assistance could help increase the likelihood that individuals moving from Exchange coverage into Medicaid or CHIP may remain in the same qualified health plan in which they had been enrolled through the Exchange.

As discussed above, premium assistance options in Medicaid and CHIP are subject to federal standards related to wrap around benefits, cost sharing and cost effectiveness. There may also be an opportunity for states to promote continuity of coverage through "bridge plans" as described earlier.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94636

How does HHS plan to conduct outreach about the Exchanges and new coverage options? Will outreach materials be tailored to each state? Will states be able to provide HHS with input in developing materials?

Education and outreach are high priorities for implementing the changes coming in 2014. HHS plans to conduct outreach to consumers in a variety of ways, including the Navigator program, in-person assistance, the internet, and call centers. States and other stakeholders definitely will be able to provide input in developing its outreach approach to consumers.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94501

How does HHS plan to operate the Navigator program for the Federally-Facilitated Exchanges? How many and what types of Navigators will there be in a particular state? What will their roles be? Can states require Navigators to hold a producer license? If not, what type of training or certification will they receive?

Section 1311(i) of the Affordable Care Act directs an Exchange - whether a State-Based Exchange or a Federally-Facilitated Exchange - to establish a program under which it awards grants to Navigators. Section 1311(i) and 45 C.F.R. section 155.210 articulate the required duties of a Navigator. In addition, section 155.210(c)(2) directs that the Exchange select two different types of entities as Navigators, one of which must be a community and consumer-focused non-profit group. This program is further described in the "General Guidance on Federally-facilitated Exchanges."

The number of Navigators per state served by a Federally-Facilitated Exchange will be contingent upon the total amount of funding available as well as the number of applications that we receive in each state in response to the forthcoming Navigator Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement that we plan to issue early next year to support the Federally-Facilitated Exchanges.

Additionally, a state or Exchange cannot require Navigators to hold a producer license (i.e., a license as an agent or broker) for the purpose of carrying out any of the duties required of Navigators in section 1311(i)(3) of the Affordable Care Act and 45 C.F.R. section 155.210(e). Because the law directs Navigators to carry out all required duties, linking a producer license to any one of those specific duties would have the effect of requiring all Navigator entities, their employees, and their sub-grantees to hold a producer license. As described above, this would prevent the application of the standard set forth in 45 C.F.R. section 155.210(c)(2) that at least two different types of entities must serve as Navigators. As such, and as provided by section 1321(d) of the Affordable Care Act, any state laws which would require all Navigators to hold a producer license would be preempted by 45 C.F.R. section 155.210(c)(2).

In Federally-Facilitated Exchanges and State Partnership Exchanges, individuals selected to receive Navigator grants or working for entities selected to receive Navigator grants must successfully participate in an HHS-developed and administered training program, which will include a certification examination pursuant to 45 C.F.R. section 155.210(b). In addition, under state law, states may impose Navigator-specific licensing or certification requirements upon individuals and entities seeking to operate as Navigators, so long as such licenses or certifications are not preempted by the requirement to award to different types of entities identified in 45 C.F.R. section 155.210(c)(2), such as producer licenses.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94511

How does the Supreme Court ruling affect the interaction between the Exchanges and Medicaid? Will a state's decision whether or not to proceed with the Medicaid expansion have implications for the Exchange's ability to make Medicaid eligibility determinations?

As the letter from Secretary Sebelius to Governors sent on July 10, 2012 and the letter from the CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner sent on July 13, 2012 stated, the Supreme Court's decision affects the financial penalty that applies to a state that does not expand Medicaid coverage to 133% of the federal poverty level under the Affordable Care Act. No other provisions of the law were affected. Thus regardless of whether a state adopts the Medicaid expansion, the provisions related to coordination with the Exchange, including the use of standard income eligibility methods, apply. An Exchange in each state will make either a Medicaid eligibility determination or a Medicaid eligibility assessment (at the state's option) based on the Medicaid rules in the state, including the income levels at which the state's Medicaid program provides coverage.

Supplemental Links:

FAQ ID:94581

Results per page