Medicaid & Medicare News + More National News!

There is always a lot happening at the federal and state levels, with regard to proposed and implemented changes to the law. Our blog is where we like to share some of those updates that may have an impact on the lives of people in the cancer community.

National News:

  • Medicare Advantage Plans are a way to get your Medicare coverage through a private health insurance company. These plans have specific networks of providers that you can see for your medical care. New data shared in Health Affairsshows that these networks have become significantly smaller over time, which interferes with patients’ access to providers and quality care.
  • The Medicare Part B Fairness Act (R. 1788) has been introduced by Representatives Katie Hill (D-CA-25) and Brian Babin (R-TX-36), which would limit the amount and duration of the Medicare Part B Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) and expand the Special Enrollment Period for people with employer-sponsored coverage to other types of pre-Medicare coverage.

Idaho, Arkansas, & Kentucky:

  • On April 9, Idaho Governor Little signed a bill passed by the state legislature that requires the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to seek a Section 1115 waiver to add a work requirement as a condition of eligibility for coverage for Medicaid in Idaho. This action contradicts a ballot proposition that was approved byt the voters in November, to expand coverage to Medicaid under the ACA to all adults with a household income up to 138% of the federal poverty level.  This was an interesting step to take after a court struck down the Medicaid work reuirements that were implemented by Arkansas & Kentucky. However, this court decision has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

New Hampshire:

  • New Hampshire is another state that had a Medicaid work requirement approved by the federal government. But the New Hampshire House is considering a bill that would roll back some elements of a controversial new Medicaid work requirement. The new work requirement, set to begin this summer, will require some people who get their health insurance through expanded Medicaid to complete 100 hours of work or other activities per month or lose coverage. 


  • The Florida legislature is also considering a work requirement for its traditional Medicaid program, as it chose not to expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA.


  • Montana’s Senate narrowly passed a bill to continue its Medicaid expansion coverage, which expires on June 30, 2019. The legislation must still be approved once more by the Senate and then goes to the House. Governor Bullock has indicated he would sign the bill if it gets to his desk.


  • CMS has approved Maine’s plan to fully expand Medicaid to adults under age 65 with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Maine’s expansion will be retroactive to July 2, 2018, the date that it should have taken effect had the former governor not blocked it.


New Jersey:

  • New Jersey GovernorPhil Murphy signed a law to let patients with less than six months left to live obtain medication to end their own lives. New Jersey is the eighth state to allow aid-in-dying. Similar legislation lost by one vote in the Maryland Senate and is being debated by the Nevada legislature. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that if the legislature passed an aid-in-dying bill, he'd sign it. For more information on this topic, read: https://triagecancer.org/deathwithdignity.

Triage Cancer will continue to keep you up to date on these topics and more.  Stay tuned . . .

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