Blog Posts > Smoothing the Transition: A Medicaid Buy-in Could Reduce Churn and Expand Health Insurance Coverage to Thousands of West Virginians
October 23, 2020

Smoothing the Transition: A Medicaid Buy-in Could Reduce Churn and Expand Health Insurance Coverage to Thousands of West Virginians

As the ongoing pandemic makes clearer than ever the need for affordable health care coverage not tied to employment, our new policy brief explores how a Medicaid buy-in program could extend coverage to thousands of West Virginians.

From the brief:

“A Medicaid buy-in is a state-initiated health insurance coverage product that allows people above current Medicaid eligibility levels to pay a monthly premium, possibly with state or federal subsidies to help cover the cost of the premiums, to receive health care coverage through Medicaid or a Medicaid-like plan built atop the state’s existing Medicaid infrastructure.

“A Medicaid buy-in can be structured to achieve several important goals, including increased choice and competition on the health insurance market, increased affordability for consumers, continuity for populations with changing incomes, and potential savings for the state in health costs.”

Read Kelly’s full policy brief.

Disaster Preparedness: What’s at Stake in West Virginia if the Affordable Care Act is Overturned

This week, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, Cabin Creek Health Systems, West Virginia Citizen Action Education Fund, and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care held a briefing on the imminent threat to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what a decision overturning the health care law would mean for West Virginia.

Their message was clear — overturning the ACA would be catastrophic for our people, health care infrastructure, and economy.

You can find the recording of the briefing in its entirety here.

You can find articles summarizing key points of the briefing here and here.

To voice your support for protecting the ACA, sign our petition here.

West Virginia Medicaid Enrollment Continues to Rise Even as Unemployment Claims Level Out

As the coming Affordable Care Act lawsuit threatens the future of Medicaid, our new health policy analyst Rhonda Rogombe’s first blog post reveals that enrollment in this critical program has increased 10 percent since the start of the pandemic.

The state experienced its most significant enrollment increases in March and April, averaging 10,700 newly registered West Virginians in Medicaid per month. Since then, the number of new enrollees has stabilized, averaging about 6,400 new individuals per month. In September, West Virginia reached 542,000 total individuals enrolled in Medicaid.

Over the past few months, West Virginia has experienced decreasing unemployment levels alongside increasing Medicaid enrollment numbers. While unemployment has fallen by 50 percent since its peak in April, 43,000 new people registered for Medicaid over the same period.

Read Rhonda’s full blog post.

Nonprofits Call on Gov. Justice to Target Remaining CARES Act Funds to Those Most in Need

Last Friday, the WV United coalition sent a letter to Governor Jim Justice urging him to direct the state’s nearly $1 billion in remaining CARES Act money to those most in need before the funds expire at the end of the year.
The letter highlights that the pandemic and accompanying recession have disproportionately harmed West Virginia’s poor and communities of color, and proposes that the remaining funding be spent on:

– Rent and mortgage relief for West Virginians facing eviction and foreclosure

– Utility assistance

– COVID-19 testing, tracing efforts, and hazard pay

– Support for child care centers and parents with child care needs- Increased payments to unemployed workers

– Food assistance and transportation needs for rural West Virginians

– Emergency home repairs

– Increased clothing vouchers

Read the full letter

Economic and Jobs Impact of ReImagine Appalachia Coalition Blueprint

Earlier this year, the ReImagine Appalachia coalition released a policy blueprint to create a vibrant region for all people, whether they are white, Black, Brown, or Indigenous. The blueprint envisions an Appalachia where everyone is paid enough to support themselves and their family, future generations can put down roots, and everyone has clean air to breathe and water to drink.

This week, ReImagine Appalachia held a virtual press conference to release findings from the Political Economy Research Institute’s (PERI) economic and job impact analysis of their blueprint. The PERI study shows that if it is implemented, the ReImagine blueprint could provide good jobs for hundreds of thousands of Appalachians every year for the next 10 years. 

The impact reports for Ohio and Pennsylvania are available now and can be found here

West Virginia-specific data will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

2020 Summit on Race Matters in West Virginia: Nov. 5 Education and Employment Session

This summit seeks to “discuss race in a comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate manner designed to build the Beloved Community in West Virginia.” It kicked off to an incredible start in August, and we encourage you to keep engaging in this conversation and join us for the next session, which focuses on education and employment and features professor, author, and commentator Michael Eric Dyson as keynote speaker.

This free event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 4pm ET. Register here.

Beyond Bars Summit: A Dialogue on Mass Incarceration in West Virginia

Mass incarceration of adults cost West Virginia over $314 million in 2019. The collateral consequences impact our communities, families, and economy. 

Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 12 for a virtual summit to hear from experts, participate in dialogue, and discuss solutions to mass incarceration in our state.

Summit Schedule:
3 p.m. Dwayne Betts, author of Felon
4 p.m. Breakout sessions led by West Virginia experts
5 p.m. Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black

Register here.

You May Still be Eligible to File for Your Stimulus Payment, Filing Deadline Extended to Nov. 21

Did you know that millions of eligible people could miss out on their Economic Impact Payments (EIP) – commonly called “stimulus checks” – because they have to file an online form with the IRS to get it? While most people get their payments automatically after filing a tax return (or based on participation in certain federally administered programs), this group of “non-filers” must take additional action to get their money (worth $1,200 for adults and $500 for qualifying children).

An estimated 115,000 West Virginia residents did not receive their EIP automatically from the IRS, translating to $112 million in lost potential payments. Don’t leave money sitting on the table — if you are eligible, file for your EIP before the Oct. 30 deadline for online claims and Nov. 21 deadline for paper claims.

Please note, per a federal judge’s recent ruling, incarcerated folks are eligible to receive the stimulus check. You can find a helpful list of FAQs about obtaining the payment for incarcerated people here

Learn more about general eligibility and file for your EIP here

Important 2020 Election Dates

Make your voice heard and remember to vote in this November’s 2020 General Election! Important dates to keep in mind below.

Register for WVCBP’s 2021 Budget Breakfast

Register early for our 8th annual Budget Breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 17! 

Event will be held at the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association Office. Doors open at 7:30am. WVCBP’s analysis of the Governor’s 2022 proposed budget will start at 8:00, followed by keynote speaker presentation and time for Q&A. 

Please note, due to COVID-19 uncertainties, event may be altered to be held virtually. Stay tuned for update.

Take advantage of our Early Bird Special and register before the end of 2020 to save $10. Legislators and public officials may attend free of charge.

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