2021 Outlook: COVID Vax, State Budget Issues Add to Medicaid MCOs’ Urgency to Address Disparities

As the novel coronavirus erupted across the U.S. and created a widespread economic downturn, it led to increased enrollment in state Medicaid programs and created devastating budget shortfalls for states. Yet Congress’ latest pandemic relief effort — the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27 — does not include direct financial help for states, which are now rolling out newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines with limited resources and guidance from the federal government.

Earlier legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, afforded states a temporary increase of 6.2% in their federal match rate, yet multiple stakeholders including managed care plans have beseeched Congress to enact another temporary boost during the public health emergency.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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