Colorado’s congressional delegation on Tuesday asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver modifying the requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On March 24, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing ... submitted an 1135 waiver, designed to reduce administrative burdens on: clients seeking access to care; on the state’s Medicaid program; and, on providers seeking to participate in Medicaid,” the letter reads. Such a waiver would allow for the rapid, good-faith provision of health care without sanction.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave 11 states waivers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act. Available options for states include extending current authorizations for service, allowing states to enroll new providers more quickly and enabling states to change their programming on new deadlines. The waivers will expire at the end of the public health emergency.
In Colorado, approximately 1.27 million people, or 23% of the population, received health insurance through Medicaid as of July 2019. The number has declined in recent years with increasing numbers of people using employer-sponsored coverage. With massive layoffs and business closures during the coronavirus pandemic, more people may depend on the program for health care in the coming months.