States and hospitals will likely continue to receive increased federal funding due to the pandemic until the end of 2021, according to a recent letter to governors at the Department of Health and Human Services under the Biden administration.
The letter says the current public health emergency caused by COVID-19 will likely last until the end of the year. With this extension, many of the flexibilities granted to states and hospitals at the onset of the pandemic will continue.
Due to the extension, expanded use of telemedicine, certain exemptions from Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Medicare Program, and Portability Act privacy law requirements and health insurance liability, as well as the 6.2% increase in the percentage of federal medical assistance, Stay in place. In addition, the public health extension will allow hospitals to continue to receive an additional 20% Medicare payment for patients who test positive for COVID-19.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The expansion of the federal medical assistance percentage means states will be encouraged to maintain Medicaid funding and coverage as a means of receiving the additional funds, resulting in fewer uninsured patients and more government reimbursements to hospitals, according to Moody’s. Investors Service.
The FMAP formula is designed so that the federal government pays a greater portion of Medicaid costs in states that have per capita incomes below the national average. Rates can range from 50% to 83%, depending on a state’s per capita income.
Under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, state regular FMAP rates have been increased by 6.2% to help states meet the need for increased health services and manage increased Medicaid enrollment.
Last year, as unemployment rates hit record highs, every state also saw an increase in Medicaid and CHIP enrollments as more people became eligible, according to Moody’s. Kentucky, Utah, Oklahoma and Nevada had the largest increases in enrollment, all seeing increases of more than 15% from February through September.
Moody’s predicts that states with the largest increases in Medicaid enrollment will benefit the most from sustained federal assistance, as it will help cover costs for more members.
For example, the four states with the highest Medicaid registrations are expected to get $ 635 million, $ 171 million, $ 317 million, and $ 248 million from the FMAP increase, respectively.
THE BIGGEST TREND
The United States first declared COVID-19 a public health emergency on January 31, 2020, following the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
Since then, the HHS has extended the public health emergency four times. The current expansion is scheduled to expire on April 21.
A number of advocacy groups must maintain the public health emergency until certain criteria are met.
The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living sent a letter to HHS saying that until COVID-19 testing increases, the number of new cases decreases, there are fewer COVID-19 patients. in intensive care units, the number of COVID-19 deaths is decreasing and collective immunity is reached, the public health emergency must remain in place.
The American Hospital Association also sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that vendors be allowed to keep Vendor Relief Fund dollars by allowing any reasonable method of calculating COVID-19 loss of earnings. The letter also urged the new administration to protect the 340B drug savings program and demand that private plans remove administrative and financial barriers to COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage.
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