The coronavirus pandemic has generated both a public health crisis and an economic crisis, with major implications for Medicaid—a countercyclical program—and its beneficiaries. The pandemic has profoundly affected Medicaid program spending, enrollment, and policy, challenging state Medicaid agencies, providers, and enrollees in a variety of ways. As states continue to respond to pandemic challenges, they are also pushing forward non-emergency initiatives as well as preparing for the unwinding of the public health emergency (PHE) and the return to a new normal of operations. The current PHE declaration expires on January 16, 2022, though the Biden Administration could renew the declaration again and has notified states that it will provide 60 days of notice prior to the declaration’s termination or expiration. The duration of the PHE will affect a range of emergency policy options in place as well as a 6.2 percentage point increase in the federal match rate (“FMAP”)5 (retroactive to January 1, 2020) available if states meet certain “maintenance of eligibility” requirements included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
This report highlights certain policies in place in state Medicaid programs in state fiscal year (FY) 2021 and policy changes implemented or planned for FY 2022, which began on July 1, 2021 for most states; we also highlight state experiences with policies adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are drawn from the 21st annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Management Associates (HMA), in collaboration with the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD). States completed this survey in mid-summer of 2021, following increased vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases but just prior to a new wave of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Overall, 47 states responded to this year’s survey, although response rates for specific questions varied. This report summarizes key findings across five sections: delivery systems, benefits and telehealth, social determinants of health (which also includes information on health equity and COVID-19 vaccine uptake), provider rates and taxes, and pharmacy