Medicaid Demos for Incarcerated People Offer Chance to Test Critical Interventions

The Section 1115 waiver that allows states to provide limited Medicaid coverage to incarcerated people has drawn applications from 18 states, according to KFF data from Aug. 11. Most of those states have chosen to limit the coverage to specific populations, such as incarcerated people with positive HIV/AIDS diagnoses, substance use disorder (SUD) or serious mental illness (SMI) — and experts say that the varied scope of state uptake could, over time, show which interventions are most effective in helping the vulnerable populations that the waiver is meant to serve.

Per KFF, of the 18 states that have submitted waivers, four — California, South Carolina, Utah and Washington — have had their waivers approved. Fifteen have pending waivers. (Utah and Oregon have both submitted multiple waivers; both of Oregon’s are pending approval from CMS, while Utah has had one approved and one is still under consideration.)

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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