The ACA and Recent Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waivers

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Prior to the ACA, one key reason a number of states used Section 1115 waiver authority was to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who could not otherwise be covered under federal rules. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion to nearly all low-income adults at or below 138% FPL, and the significant federal funding provided to states for this expansion, fundamentally alters the role of Section 1115 waivers in expanding coverage to adults. Through guidance and recent waiver approvals in three states, CMS has identified some of the parameters related to the use of waivers to expand coverage to adults in light of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. This brief provides an overview of the potential role of Section 1115 waivers to expand coverage since the enactment of the ACA and key themes in recently approved and proposed coverage expansion waivers.

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Date: Feb 2014
Author: Kaiser Family Foundation