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 Legislative & Policy Corner

ICYMI – AMCHP Legislative Alert Covers How Shutdown Was Averted and What to Expect Next
On Sept. 30, AMCHP issued a breaking news Legislative Alert after Congress voted to pass a continuing resolution keeping the government open until Dec. 11. Click here for a copy of that alert covering what to expect next.

AMCHP Comments on Essential Health Benefits
On Sept. 30, AMCHP submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to consider the unique health care needs of children, particularly children with special health care needs, as they review state Essential Health Benefit (EHB) benchmark choices. We joined other MCH advocates expressing concern that the EHB benchmark approach does not ensure children and youth have access to a comprehensive set of benefits that meets their needs. Therefore, it is especially important that CMS review proposed 2017 benchmark plans for their specific approach to benefits for children, including but not limited to the pediatric services and rehabilitative and habilitative services categories.
 
Health Reform Implementation
 
MCH Populations Impacted by Drop in U.S. Uninsured Rate
Since the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, America's uninsured rate has dropped below 10 percent for the first time in more than 50 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 16 million fewer Americans were uninsured in early 2015 compared to 2013. MCH populations, particularly women of childbearing age, have seen a similar decline. In 2013, 19 percent of working age women lived without health insurance. The new U.S. Census Bureau report confirms that this number is now just under 13 percent. For more information about health coverage options for MCH populations, see the AMCHP coverage chart.
 
Guttmacher Study Finds IUDs Becoming More Affordable through the ACA
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) are considered one of the most effective methods of contraception. Traditionally cost-prohibitive for many women, IUDs and other long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are becoming more available as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings down out-of-pocket costs for consumers. A new study by the Guttmacher Institute found that in 2014, 87 percent of insured women who sought a hormonal IUD would have no out-of-pocket costs, up from 42 percent of women in 2012. Research has shown IUDs to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. For more information please see the AMCHP brief on investing in IUDs and other LARCS.
 
Open Enrollment is around the Corner, New Challenges in Outreach and Enrollment
With open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning on Nov. 1, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials have indicated that the remaining uninsured may be harder to reach. To address these anticipated challenges, enrollment assistance has been made available through federal navigator grants as well as state and local efforts. For a full list of navigator organizations, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For more information about marketplace eligibility, please visit healthcare.gov. Eligible individuals can enroll in Medicaid and CHIP year-round. For more information, visit Medicaid.gov.