Legislative & Policy Corner

Sequestration Hub Launched
AMCHP recently developed a Web page solely dedicated to sequestration. This page provides our members and the community with tools and resources to learn more about the sequester and to effectively advocate for a balanced approach. Specifically, this Web page includes a copy of our sign-on letter, press release, fact sheets, state profiles, and links to other reports and analysis about sequestration. Click here to view the Web page. Contact Carolyn Mullen with any questions.

Federal Budget Fact Sheet
Continuing resolution, budget, fiscal cliff and sequestration will all significantly impact future funding of the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant and other MCH programs. To assist our members with the upcoming federal “budgetmageddon,” AMCHP developed a fact sheet that includes key dates and potential impact on Title V. We will continue to keep you informed as the federal budgeting process unfolds during the next six to nine months. Click here to view the fact sheet.

Many States Make Selection of Essential Health Benefits Benchmark Plans
As of Sept. 30, 16 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their selection of essential health benefits while some states are awaiting further federal guidance. As discussed in the last Member Briefs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated a goal of Sept. 30 for states to select their essential health benefits benchmark plan. To find out where your state stands in the process of selection, or which plan your state selected, the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has a state-by-state chart. The American Academy of Pediatrics also released a report on essential health benefits for children, which is an important and useful tool for MCH stakeholders.

Summary of Benefits and Coverage 
Insurance companies and employers are now required to provide consumers in the private health insurance market with a brief summary of what a health insurance policy or employer plan covers called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Additionally, consumers will have access to a uniform glossary that defines insurance and medical terms in standard, consumer-friendly terms.

The SBC includes a new comparison tool, called coverage examples, modeled on the nutrition facts label required for packaged food, to help consumers compare coverage options by showing a standardized sample of what each health plan will cover for two common medical situations – having a baby and managing type 2 diabetes. The SBC will include information about the covered health benefits, out-of-pocket costs and the network of providers. The glossary defines terms commonly used in the health insurance market, such as “deductible” and “co-pay,” using clear language. For information on the SBC, click here.

HHS Announces More Funding for Community Health Centers
On Sept. 27, HHS announced funding for 810 community health centers. These grants will improve the quality of care at community health centers and ensure more women are screened for cervical cancer. For a list of grantees and more information, click here.

Federal Funding to Support Affordable Insurance Exchanges
On Sept. 27, HHS announced grants for the establishment of affordable insurance exchanges in Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and the District of Columbia. This is level one funding; one-year grants to states to build exchanges. AMCHP wrote an issue brief that highlights some of the key considerations for state MCH programs and partners in developing their exchanges and provides key leaders with some ideas to ensure that the unique needs of women, children and families are addressed in state exchange planning. For more information on the establishment of insurance exchanges and a map of the states and territories that have received establishment grants, click here.