On March 18, 2020, federal lawmakers enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contained a provision that provides enhanced federal funding for state Medicaid programs if they meet certain requirements. The new law provides a 6.2 percent increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which states receive from Congress for Medicaid program expenses, provided that they do not disenroll anyone from their Medicaid program who was enrolled when the public health emergency began, maintain eligibility standards, methodologies, and procedures that are no more restrictive than those that were in effect on January 1, 2020, or charge higher premiums than those that were in place on January 1, 2020. The increased FMAP will be available to states through the end of the quarter in which the public health emergency ends.
In guidance published on March 24, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified that states must also comply with the Act’s requirement that they must provide coverage of all testing and treatment related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) without any cost-sharing to be eligible for the enhanced federal funding. This includes covering vaccines, specialized equipment, and therapies for any quarter that the enhanced FMAP applies. The guidance also includes other questions and concerns voiced by state Medicaid agencies as they decide whether to accept the enhanced funding provided by the Families First Coronavirus Act. The enhanced Medicaid funding provided by Congress will infuse states with resources that they desperately need as many experience an influx of COVID-19 patients.
Read the agency’s press release.