Proposed rules would increase states' Medicaid flexibility

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed two new rules that expand states' flexibility in designing their own Medicaid programs. 

One of the rules allows states to offer alternative benefit packages, also called "benchmark plans." These plans provide Medicaid beneficiaries with healthcare that has the same value as that being offered to other individuals in the state. Approved coverage may allow disabled individuals to obtain integrated coverage for acute care and community-based long-term care. 

The proposed regulations also allow states to revise current premiums and cost sharing structures. The proposed rules would implement provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. The rules were to be published in Friday's Federal Register. 

See the proposed rule on state flexibility at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidGenInfo/Downloads/CMS2232P.pdf.

The proposed rule on premiums and cost-sharing is available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidGenInfo/Downloads/CMS2244P.pdf.

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