Journal Issue: Health Insurance for Children Volume 13 Number 1 Spring 2003
Implications of New Federal Waiver Opportunities for Premium Assistance
States may find it easier to adopt and implement effective policies with new waiver guidance from the federal government. In August 2001, the federal government issued the Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability (HIFA) Demonstration Initiative, which offered formal guidance about a potential new use of demonstration waivers.29 Table 2 highlights the ways in which HIFA waivers could ease federal requirements that often make implementing premium assistance unnecessarily difficult. Primarily, these waivers would allow greater flexibility in how benefit standards and cost-sharing limitations are applied to employer plans. Using HIFA, for example, a state could design consistent policies across Medicaid and SCHIP income boundaries while creating more elegant subsidy and other policies that better fit the world of employment-based family coverage.