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Jan 21 2021 Updates

Thanks to those of you who attended our Health Care Working Group meeting yesterday.  We promised to pass on links to various updates that we didn't have time to cover during the meeting.
 
For  next time, please let us know: Topics you'd like to see covered at future meetings:  your experience with the "fix" for 65 yo Medicare beneficiaries who were stuck in CarePlus which denied all claims and are now being upgraded to Standard retroactively;  and whether you have had any MassHealth overpayment cases, especially premium assistance overpayments. Email vpulos@mlri.org or ksymmonds@mlri.org
 

1.       Open enrollment for 2021 coverage in the individual market ends January 23, 2021. 

 

2.       Governor Baker’s 2022 Budget expected Jan 27, 2021

 

3.       Health Equity Task Force will be holding its second public hearing on Feb 1, 2021. Details on the public hearing here: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3628

Written testimony may be emailed by February 1 at 5 PM to Donna Fox (dfox@challiance.org) and Morgan McCallister (mmccallister@massleague.org) with the subject line: "Health Equity Hearing Written Testimony."  

Written testimony is encouraged even for those providing oral testimony.

Oral testimony is encouraged and limited to 3 minutes.  Advanced sign up for oral testimony is required by January 27 at 5 p.m.  Please email Donna Fox (dfox@challiance.org) and Morgan McCallister (mmccallister@massleague.org) with the subject line: "Health Equity Hearing Oral Testimony".  In your email, please include:

Name:

Title:

Organization:

The website with more information on the Task Force's mission, membership and activities to date is here: 

https://malegislature.gov/Commissions/Detail/512/Members

 

4.       Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver amendments and public input process

Many of the changes relate to providing services remotely and assisting with the technology to make that possible.

Frail Elder HCBS waiver:  Listening session Feb 3 at 12: 30; comments due Feb 12

All three of the Dept. of Development Services (DDS)  HCBS waivers:  Listening session Jan 25 10 am; comments due Feb 12

More information including public notice with summary of amendments and redline version of the waiver documents showing changes are here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/home-and-community-based-services-waiver-renewal-and-amendment-applications-public

5.       Deadlines for orthodontic treatment for 21 year olds pursuant to Dayanne N. v Baker lawsuit

MassHealth members who are now 21 but were denied orthodontic treatment or had a pre-orthodontic visit between Mar 25, 2020 and Jan 14, 2021 when they were under 21 and when enjoined standards were in effect have an opportunity to obtain treatment despite their age. For these 21 year olds, orthodontists must request approval by March 31, 2021 and, if approved, begin treatment by June 30, 2021.

 

More information including the court order enjoining the 2020 standard, the Dental Transmittal rescinding the 2020 standards and setting the deadlines for 21 year olds, and a short memo for advocates prepared by MLRI are here: https://www.masslegalservices.org/content/court-enjoins-masshealth-orthodontia-changes

 

6.       MassHealth inviting public input related to upcoming 1115 demonstration renewal.

 

The 1115 expires on June 30, 2022 and MassHealth is planning to submit a draft of its renewal plan for public comment in the spring of 2021 in order to submit its proposal to CMS this summer.  In advance of the formal comment period, MassHealth is seeking public input in several ways. 

 

This week it sent out this information inviting comments via email:

We'd also like to let you know that we are now accepting comments, thoughts, concerns, and ideas about the upcoming 1115 demonstration renewal via email at MassHealth.Innovations@mass.gov. You are welcome to use this avenue to provide feedback, and to share this email address with your network.

MassHealth also set up various stakeholder groups in the fall with meeting dates shown here,   https://www.mass.gov/service-details/masshealth-section-1115-demonstration-renewal-stakeholder-work-groups

 

7.       President Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra, formerly California’s Attorney General, to be the next Secretary of HHS but has not yet named his CMS director, follow appointments on this tracker from the Washington Post here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2020/biden-appointee-tracker/?itid=lk_inline_manual_40&itid=lk_inline_manual_14

 

8.       Federal poverty guidelines for 2021 are out and will be applied to MassHealth programs on March 1, 2021. MLRI will release its updated table next month. https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines

 

9.       Before leaving office Sec Azar extended the public health emergency for another 90 days from Jan 21, 2021.  See the announcement.