News Briefs: HHS Renews Public Health Emergency | Jan. 21, 2022
HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra renewed the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency until April 16, extending the PHE that was first announced on Jan. 31, 2020, by then-HHS Sec. Alex Azar into its third year. The PHE declaration makes possible enhanced Medicaid funding — in exchange for states pausing eligibility redeterminations — and expanded telehealth flexibilities for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
New insurer entry into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges is slowing down after several boom years, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report. “While the total number of plan offerings increased by about one third between 2020 and 2021 (from 10,289 to 13,596), this year’s increase to 15,638 constitutes growth of about 15 percent,” wrote Katherine Hempstead, Ph.D., senior policy adviser for the foundation.