Health Policy News – May 2021

This month’s edition features two articles that examine the Exchange-related guidance and future policy priorities recently announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the second final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022 and Pharmacy Benefit Manager Standards.

As a companion piece to our COVID-19 vaccine distribution improvement coverage, this month’s edition also includes an article discussing the role of public health messaging and state policy strategies in mitigating vaccine hesitancy.

As in past years, Health Policy News will publish one summer edition in late July; however, we will continue to post updates on the blog in the interim. We encourage you to check back regularly for ongoing coverage of breaking health policy news.

CMS Issues Further Exchange Guidance: Second Final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022 and 2022 Final Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Exchanges 

On April 30th, CMS released the second final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022 and Pharmacy Benefit Manager Standards (NBPP), as well as an accompanying fact sheet. Due to the change in administration in January, the Exchange guidance for the 2022 plan year was finalized in a piecemeal manner, with major policy changes finalized in January under the old administration and the remainder of the policy proposals left for the new administration to take final action on. To see the finalized guidance and Health Policy News’ fact sheet on the topic, click here.

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CMS Foreshadows Policy Areas for Future Rulemaking

Our second article covering 2022 Exchange Guidance looks forward to the Biden administration’s priorities for the Exchange going forward. In the preamble to the NBPP, the administration previewed provisions that were finalized prior to it taking office (and so not open to action without another full rulemaking process) as well as provisions that were invalidated by a recent judicial ruling, which CMS will seek to address in future rulemaking. For a look into provisions that were directly flagged for future action in the preamble of the second final NBPP and other areas of likely action going forward, click here.

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Analyzing the Effects of Public Health Messaging on Vaccine Hesitancy

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution process has been an important health policy topic for the last few months, but recently, the challenges surrounding this process shifted from handling limited vaccine supply to addressing declining vaccination demand. Public health messaging is an important policy tool that governments and policy leaders can use to incentivize individuals to get vaccinated and bolster policy solutions. For an overview of how public health messaging has been and is being leveraged to encourage those who are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

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