Capitol Correspondence - 03.16.21

HCBS FMAP Increase Signed into Law – Now What?

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President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on Thursday, officially codifying an unprecedented 10-percent increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program. The temporary FMAP increase will last for one year to address providers’ needs wrought by the pandemic, covering HCBS supports from April 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022.

As a benefit of their membership, ANCOR members can find a breakdown of additional relevant provisions on the ANCOR Forum. We also encourage members to read our statement on the passage of the bill. In the meantime, we answer some questions on next steps below.

What happens next for implementation? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will need to issue guidance to states on how to implement this FMAP bump. It is unclear when CMS will issue that guidance as the agency is still being staffed. A final vote has not yet been scheduled for the nomination of Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services, hearings have not yet been conducted for Chiquita Brooks-LaSure’s nomination as CMS Administrator, and no formal appointment has been made for the position of Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), which serves beneath the CMS Administrator. Additionally, because Medicaid is a state-federal partnership, states will have to agree to participate in the rate enhancement.

What you can do in the meantime:

  • Reach out to your state legislator, state Medicaid agencies and governors to encourage them to take advantage of this no-cost, enhanced federal funding.
  • Share your state officials’ questions and concerns with Sarah Meek, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, so that she can relay them to CMS and inform future guidance they will release.  
  • Thank your members of Congress for voting for this essential funding! For your convenience, we prepared email and social media templates in this thank you toolkit.

ANCOR is currently developing additional resources to further assist members on this issue – please stay tuned!