Friday Five: ACA ruled unconstitutional, but it won’t impact health insurance in 2019

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December 21, 2018

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the legal status of the Affordable Care Act, how states are addressing social determinants of health, the budget impact of potential changes to Medicare and Medicaid, a new child support formula in Ohio, and the Department of Veterans Affairs online patient portal hits a milestone.

1. A federal judge has ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. So now what happens?

Late last week, a federal judge declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional without the individual mandate (which required that individuals buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty). According to USA Today, the ruling won’t affect health insurance in 2019, as appeals will likely take most of the year to wind their way through the courts. Many experts expect the ruling to be overturned, however the uncertainty could still impact health insurance markets.

2. Most Medicaid managed care plans consider social determinants of health

A new report examining state Medicaid managed care contracts and 1115 waivers found that the majority of plans screen for and address social determinants of health. However, Healthcare Dive reports there can also be a lack of clear expectations, and financial incentives for coordinating services are uncommon.

3. 8 Medicare and Medicaid reforms that would have the biggest impact on federal spending

The Congressional Budget Office recently evaluated the financial impact of changes to Medicare and Medicaid. This Fierce Healthcare article summarizes the options that would have the most impact, including: caps on spending, reducing matching grants, changing cost-sharing rules, increasing premiums, raising the age of eligibility, and changing payments to Medicare Advantage.

4. EC JFS to overhaul child support pay system

Ohio will implement a new formula to determine child support amounts for cases filed after March 28, 2019. According to the Sandusky Register, the formula will replace one from 1986 and better reflect modern incomes. The minimum monthly order will also increase, and payments for multiple children will be more equitable.

5. My HealtheVet turns 15

My HealtheVet, the online patient portal for the Department of Veterans Affairs, celebrated its 15th anniversary this fall. FCW reports that more than 4.5 million veterans have used the portal to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, and more. Plans for the future include adding additional personalization, allowing access to designated individuals besides the patient and connecting further with community providers.