Nearly half of states have approved Medicaid waivers during coronavirus crisis

A total of 23 states have received approved section 1135 waivers for their Medicaid programs from CMS as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS allowed states to request section 1135 waivers to enhance their Medicaid programs and cut red tape temporarily to mitigate and response quickly to the public health crisis. CMS also expanded telehealth benefits with more flexibilities to allow clinicians to potentially diagnose, treat and advise patients who could have COVID-19 without additional risks of requiring healthcare facility visits.

The waivers cover a breadth of flexibilities for their Medicaid programs in order to provide services and treat impacted populations faster. The flexibilities granted so far range from waiving prior authorization requirements, extending existing authorizations for public health emergency services, modifying timelines for state hearings and appeals, relaxing provider enrollment requirements and relaxing public notice and submission deadlines for some state plan amendments focused on COVID-19, according to CMS.

The states with Medicaid waivers thus far include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Washington