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Press release
August 17, 2017

Families USA’s New Interactive Hub Offers One-Stop Resource on State Waivers

Online Map and Tools Can Help Policy Makers, Health Care Advocates, Journalists and Consumers track State Waiver Process

Washington, D.C. – Families USA today premiered a new interactive resource center on its website that can be used to track two specific types of waiver requests—Medicaid 1115 to change Medicaid coverage requirements and 1332 state innovation waivers. Tracking of waivers is broken out by state and by program elements, including the potential effects they have on consumers. 

“Based on clear signals from the Trump Administration, continued budgetary pressures in states, and the ideological pressure from many state legislatures, we expect CMS to support and promote federal waivers that dismantle key ACA and Medicaid protections,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “However, there also are terrific examples of states using waivers to create important innovations that are good for Medicaid enrollees and the larger health care system. We created the Hub as a one-stop tool that policy makers, health care advocates, and journalists can use to keep up-to-date with changes the states are requesting to make to their state health coverage programs. Waivers are a large and growing part of the Medicaid program and an emerging factor in the marketplaces. It’s critical to know their effects on consumers – good or bad.”

The two specific types of waivers that will be tracked are:

  • 1115 waivers, or “Demonstration Project” waivers: These waivers are available in a variety of health and human services programs, but are predominantly used for Medicaid. They allow states to waive certain Medicaid requirements for projects that are “likely to promote the objectives of the Medicaid program.” The initial focus of Families USA’s resource is 1115 waivers that affect Medicaid coverage for adults.
  • 1332 waivers, or “State Innovation Waivers: These waivers allow states to waive certain federal requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for private insurance and marketplace coverage. States that waive these requirements must meet statutory requirements that their residents have coverage that is at least as comprehensive and affordable; that consumers are protected against excessive out-of-pocket costs, and that the waiver will not increase the federal deficit.

The hub allows users to click on a specific state to get real-time information on the state’s waiver requests. It also includes a variety of reference materials that explain the waiver process, Families USA’s waiver comments, and tools consumer leaders and policy experts can use to prepare comments or respond to state waiver requests.

“We believe this hub will be a valuable tool for people who care about the health of our nation’s families and want to ensure that any changes being proposed on the state-level provide high quality health care for all,” Isasi said.