Capitol Correspondence - 01.05.21

CMS Issues Guidance on Unwinding COVID-19 Emergency Medicaid Waivers

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As announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance intended to help states restore regular Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) operations after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE) ends. […] As of December 17th, CMS has approved over 600 state Medicaid and CHIP requests for temporary program flexibilities or waivers to ensure that CMS’ state partners have the tools needed to combat COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 PHE ends, many of the flexibilities and waivers granted to states will also end.  CMS is releasing this guidance now to ensure that states have sufficient time to plan and prepare to transition back to normal operations.”

Key takeaway: While ANCOR is still reading through the guidance (full document here), a key victory is that CMS will now allow states to keep their Appendix K waivers in place until no later than six months after the end of the public health emergency. Originally, CMS set the waivers to expire after 12 months, regardless of whether a public health emergency was still in effect.