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MassHealth files more COVID-19 waiver requests

Yesterday April 24, 2020, MassHealth filed an emergency 1115 waiver request for changes they are asking for as of Mar 1 and that would continue throughout the public health emergency.  
These are two of the most important requested changes on the eligibility side:
* Enabling  people found ineligible until meeting a deductible, to obtain a waiver of the deductible based on hardship.This would effectively eliminate an upper income limit for the elderly now subject to a 6-month spenddown to obtain MassHealth Standard, and for disabled adults under 65 with income too high for Standard now subject to a one-time deductible to obtain CommonHealth. 
* Returning to retroactive eligibility for up to 90 days back from the date of application. This is the general Medicaid rule on retroactive coverage, but since 1997  only the elderly and those eligible for nursing home care have been able to get 90 days retro coverage. All the 1115 MassHealth waivers in effect since 1997 reduced the retroactive period to 10 days for people under age 65. This request would restore 90 day retro coverage for all MassHealth recipients during the emergency period.
So far CMS has only granted one emergency 1115 (for Washington state) --let's hope it moves quickly to approve this one!
The state also filed a third 1135 emergency waiver on April 23, 2020. It's first 1135 was approved on March 26, 2020. No action yet on its second 11135 filed on April 7. Most of the 11135 requests are provider-related.
All the waiver requests (and the one approval so far) are posted on the COVID-19 provider page here:
  • On April 24, Massachusetts submitted an 1115 Waiver request to provide MassHealth additional flexibilities to best respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency PDF | Word
  • On April 23, Massachusetts submitted a third 1135 waiver request to CMS, requesting additional flexibilities for the health care system. PDF | Word
  • On April 7, Massachusetts submitted a second 1135 waiver request to CMS, requesting additional flexibilities for the health care system. PDF | Word
  • On March 26, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Massachusetts’ 1135 Waiver, granting the Commonwealth additional flexibilities for the health care system, including MassHealth, and removing barriers that interfere with needed services. Massachusetts’ 1135 Waiver can be found here:
  • On March 20, Massachusetts submitted its 1135 Waiver request to CMS PDF | Word