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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about health insurance enrollment, Medicaid helping incarcerated populations, expiring unemployment benefits, and the Veteran Administration’s new electronic health records system.

1. While the Supreme Court appears likely to uphold the Affordable Care Act, states still face uncertainty

Legal experts predict the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be struck down by the Supreme Court, though the final ruling may not be issued until June 2021. The National Academy for State Health Policy report lays out key questions and arguments made during the hearing. While the uncertainty means states must prepare for multiple outcomes, states are currently hosting open enrollment for 2021 insurance coverage.

2. CMS: More than 800K signed up for ACA plans on Healthcare.gov on first week of open enrollment

According to Fierce Healthcare, more than 818,000 individuals have signed up for health insurance coverage through the Healthcare.gov marketplace during the first week of open enrollment. Most enrollees were renewing coverage. These numbers are substantially higher than the first week of enrollment last year, yet not directly comparable due the number of states running their own marketplaces and differences in data collection.

3. How Medicaid expansion helps incarcerated persons amid COVID-19

Indiana’s expansion of Medicaid and other policies helps increase health insurance coverage for individuals transitioning back into the community. Health Payer Intelligence reports expanding Medicaid, determining Medicaid eligibility pre-release, and suspending Medicaid coverage during incarceration all led to enrollment surges for this population within the state. Incarcerated individuals are at high risk for COVID-19 and have limited access to other health insurance options.

4. Regular state unemployment programs are expiring for many Americans

Are people leaving state unemployment programs because they have found work or because their benefits have expired? Both, according to Axios. State benefits are expiring for many long-term unemployed. Providing an additional 13 weeks of benefits, the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is slated to expire on December 26 if Congressional action isn’t taken.

5. VA reports smooth go-live from $16B electronic health record system

After months of delays caused by issues with software integration and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Veterans Administration successfully went live with the first wave of its new electronic heath system. FCW reports that the launch has ‘outperformed expectations’ and support requests are lower than anticipated. This was the first of many rollouts as part of the decade-long project.