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Stimulus Payments, Health Insurance, & Returning to Work During COVID-19

National Updates

  • Have you not gotten your economic impact payment yet? Or have you had children during 2020? You may need to file more information with the IRS!
    • On June 3rd, the IRS announced that its non-filer tool will only be available until October 15th. The non-filer tool is a resource which allows low-income individuals and others not required to file income tax returns in 2018 or 2019, and have not received payments automatically, to register to ensure that they receive economic impact payments in 2020 for themselves and/or their dependents.
  • CMS Adds Online Enrollment Option for People Qualifying for a Medicare Part B SEP
    • CMS added an online enrollment option for Medicare beneficiaries who already have Medicare Part A and are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B through a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This online application is available to beneficiaries who are 65 or older and have or had group health plan (GHP) coverage within the last 8 months through their (or their spouse’s) employment. Previously, to use a Part B SEP, enrollees had to mail or fax their application. Reminder: Online enrollment is also available to individuals who are not already enrolled in Part A.

 

State Updates

Medicaid Expansion Passes in Oklahoma, Missouri Voters Prepare for August Election

Last month, Oklahoma voters narrowly approved a ballot measure to extend Medicaid coverage, making at least 200,000 Oklahoman adults newly eligible for Medicaid. This ballot measure also adds Medicaid expansion into the state’s constitution, potentially protecting it from conservative changes which may seek to add work requirements or premiums. The state is now required to expand Medicaid by July 1, 2021.

More states may follow due to pressure caused by the COVID-19 emergency. Missouri may be the next state to expand Medicaid, potentially joining 37 other states in expanding this program. In their August 4th primary election, adults in Missouri will vote on Missouri Amendment 2, the Medicaid Expansion Initiative. Similar to the Oklahoma ballot measure, Amendment 2 would expand Medicaid eligibility, prohibit additional restrictions or requirements to be placed on the expanded population, and require the state to seek maximum federal funding for Medicaid Expansion.

North Carolina, though it has not expanded Medicaid, has utilized Medicaid to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27, Secretary Mandy K. Cohen issued a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting an emergency 1115 waiver to cover everyone earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level for care related to COVID-19. This move may be the beginning of a larger movement in North Carolina towards expanded Medicaid.

Reminder: Nebraska voted to expand Medicaid in November of 2018, and after a series of delays, will begin accepting applications on August 1, 2020.

Washington Governor Issues Proclamation to Protect High-Risk Workers

On June 9th, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation aiming to protect the rights of high-risk workers to workplace accommodations. His proclamation, as well as definitions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, establishes that high-risk workers have the right to ask for accommodations that protect them from exposure to COVID-19 while working. This proclamation further explains that if an employer determines that an alternative work arrangement is not possible, they may not prevent an employee from utilizing all available accrued leave options or punish them for doing so. Employees are to be protected from loss of positions, loss of benefits, and retaliation for decisions made to protect themselves from COVID-19, to the furthest extent possible.

Additional Resources

 

We will continue to keep you updated about new laws, programs, and benefits that may impact the cancer community. Stay tuned . . .

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Grace Drake
gd@triagecancer.org