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Friday Five: Medicaid “buy-in” becomes option in Washington; other states may follow suit

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the first Medicaid “buy-in” option, Maryland’s unique approach to health insurance enrollment while filing taxes, how a “chained” Consumer Price Index could change poverty thresholds, a personal Ticket to Work testimonial, and what factors the feds should consider to improve IT infrastructure.

1. Medicare for all? How about Medicaid for more?

Earlier this week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a “public option” bill that would allow individuals to pay premiums to participate in Medicaid. Governing reports Washington is the first state to allow this option, but multiple other states have versions pending. The buy-in would be available for residents who make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but are struggling to pay for private health insurance. 

2. Maryland becomes first state to provide health insurance enrollment on tax forms

Starting in 2020, Maryland residents will be able to enroll in health insurance via tax forms. According to WAMU, tax forms will ask individuals if they have health insurance and auto-enroll them in Medicaid, if they qualify. The state estimates about half of its currently uninsured population would qualify for Medicaid or subsidized insurance. The state anticipates this could reduce the uninsured rate from 6.1% to 4.1%.

3. White House wants to update poverty thresholds. It could affect food stamps and Medicaid benefits

The Trump administration is considering using a “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) to help determine the poverty line. Roll Call reports the chained CPI takes into account consumer substitution when the price of a particular product rises. Proponents say it’s more accurate a measure and would lower mandatory spending on government programs, while opponents argue it could hurt benefits-eligible individuals and families.

4. Still moving forward

This Mail Tribune article features the personal story of a man paralyzed in an accident, who was able to rely on the “Ticket to Work” program to return to full-time employment gradually – and with the assurance his disability benefits would resume should he be unsuccessful in his work attempt. He was also able to keep his Medicaid insurance, which helps pay for a part-time caregiver.

5. Creating a culture of change begins with technology, workforce

Government executives outlined what they see as the most important factors to improve IT infrastructure within their agencies. According to Government CIO, executives are focused on interoperability, standardization, cloud acceleration, artificial intelligence, and workforce training.