Recently we shared that the State of Alaska applied for and was granted permission to essentially become an insurance carrier and help offset the high cost of healthcare for residents that have one of thirty-three different enumerated medical conditions and to spearhead efforts to bring more choice and drive down healthcare costs generally for their residents.
This application process was established by Obamacare and is called the 1332 State Innovation Waivers and in their news release about the program and Alaska’s recent approval under the program, CMS stated that they hoped all states took advantage of the opportunity to manage and control the healthcare of their residents. Seems as though Minnesota is on board with the opportunity and filed an application for waivers as well.
Hawaii actually filed their application before Alaska, on August 10, 2016, and was granted approval on December 30, 2016 – effective Jan 1, 2017. This information apparently wasn’t as newsworthy as the recent approval of Alaska, or it got buried in all of the election news.
California originally intended to seek a 1332 State Innovation Waiver back in December 2016 as well, but withdrew their application a day after completing it at the request of the Governor and Senator Ricardo Lara. California reserved the right to refile at any time.
Currently, CMS is taking comments on Minnesota’s application until July 30, 2017. Minnesota filed their application on May 5, 2017, so things are moving quickly for them, which is good because, as outlined in their application, approval would bring down premium costs in the state immediately, which would affect insurance carrier rates for the 2018 effective year and rates are due very soon.
The 1332 State Innovation Waiver portal also includes an application for the State of Vermont; however, their application was filed in March 2016 and relates to a waiver from establishing an online portion for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which is unrelated to what Hawaii, Alaska and Minnesota are trying to do.