National Health Law Program

Founded in 1969, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals and families. The oldest nonprofit of its kind, NHeLP advocates, educates and litigates at the federal and state levels. NHeLP’s lawyers and policy analysts stand up for the rights of the millions of people who struggle to access affordable, quality health care.

  • NHeLP Publishes E-Newsletter on the Need for New Medicaid Managed Care Regulations

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    NHeLP: In the latest issue of the Health Advocate, the National Health Law Program highlights the need for updated federal regulations for Medicaid managed care. Today, nearly three quarters of Medicaid beneficiaries receive services through a type of managed care arrangement and nearly all state Medicaid agencies contract with managed care entities. 

  • NHeLP to Host 25th Annual Health Advocates Conference

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program will host the 25th Annual Health Advocates Conference from December 7-9 in Washington, DC. Registration is available now.

  • NHeLP Files Suit Against California Over Medicaid Application Delays

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program, along with five other legal services organizations and community healthcare advocates, filed a lawsuit in Superior Court accusing California of taking significantly longer than the 45-day time limit required by law to process Medi-Cal applications. The lawsuit asks the court to require the State to: determine Medi-Cal eligibility within 45 days of submission; notify applicants affected by the backlog that they can request a hearing; and provide benefits to eligible applicants while their applications are being processed.

  • NHeLP Publishes Series on Medicaid Managed Care

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published a series on Medicaid Managed Care model provisions. Each issue tackles a specific aspect of  managed care, including beneficiary grievances and appeals; enrollment and disenrollment; network adequacy; accessibility and language access; and quality and transparency (forthcoming), and provides alternative model provisions for policymakers and advocates to utilize when updating regulations, contracts, and policies. 

  • NHeLP Supports Federal Court Ruling on Tennessee Medicaid Lawsuit

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a press release supporting a federal judge’s decision ordering Tennessee to provide hearings to residents whose Medicaid applications have been unreasonably delayed and certifying the litigation as a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, originally filed by NHeLP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Tennessee Justice Center, alleges that Tennessee makes it unnecessarily difficult to apply for Medicaid Coverage. Elizabeth Edwards, staff attorney at NHeLP, stated, “We are pleased that Judge Campbell recognized this as a statewide problem. The law requires Medicaid applications to be processed promptly because low-income individuals and people with disabilities often have a brutal need for health care that, without TennCare coverage, they will be unable to afford.”

  • NHeLP Welcomes Review of Halbig v. Burwell

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a press release in support of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s (D.C.) decision to grant an en banc review of the Halbig v. Burwell case. The decision to bring the case before the 11 judge panel vacates the 2-1 decision issued by the D.C. Circuit Court in July, which ruled that ACA tax credits were only available to consumers in state-run Marketplaces. Elizabeth Taylor, executive director for NHeLP stated, “We welcome the Court’s grant of en banc review…The Court…now has the opportunity to interpret the statute based on the full text, consistent with Congress’ intent, just as the Fourth Circuit did.”

  • NHeLP Publishes Newsletter on Medicaid Estate Recovery

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    NHeLP: In the latest issue of Lessons from California, the National Health Law Program reviews estates recovery rules for Medicaid beneficiaries who are over age 55 and seek long term care services. NHELP applauds the California legislature’s recent passage of a bill that would limit estate recovery for those 55 and over to what is federally required, prohibit the State from collecting against a surviving spouse of a Medi-Cal beneficiary, and require the State to provide the total amount of expenses paid on behalf of the beneficiary upon request and free of charge. The bill currently awaits the Governor’s signature.

  • NHeLP Issues Recommendations for Modernization of Medicaid Regulations

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published recommended language to update  Medicaid managed care regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 438) which have not been updated since 2002. The recommended language encompasses today’s managed care population that includes people who have disabilities, who are older, and/or who have limited English proficiency. 

  • NHeLP Publishes E-Newsletter on Alternative Benefit Plans

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published an e-newsletter on Alternative Benefit Plans (ABPs) that must be offered to the newly eligible Medicaid expansion population. The e-newsletter, which compliments a fact sheet published last month, discusses how states decide what benefits to include in their ABPs, noting that 19 of 27 states that are expanding Medicaid have aligned ABP benefits with Medicaid state plan benefits. 

  • NHeLP Celebrates the 49th Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a statement in honor of Medicaid and Medicare’s 49th Anniversary. The statement applauds the programs for providing health coverage to low-income children, adults, and persons with disabilities, but notes that nearly six million people remain uninsured in states that have declined to expand Medicaid. E Jane Perkins, legal director for NHeLP stated, “…[T]ogether with Medicare, Medicaid ensures that older adults and individuals with disabilities can live full and healthy lives in their communities. They are the backbone of our safety-net and are as critical now as they were in 1965.”

  • NHeLP Hosts Webinar on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Decision

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program and the American Public Health Association co-hosted a webinar on the Supreme Court Decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that allows closely held companies with religious objections to refuse to cover contraception for its employees. The webinar reviews the ACA contraceptive coverage provisions, the case’s journey to the Supreme Court, the impact of the Court’s decision, and state contraceptive equity laws.

  • NHeLP Publishes Fact Sheet on Alternative Benefit Plans for the Medicaid Expansion Population

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program published a fact sheet on Alternative Benefit Plans (ABPs) that must be offered to the newly eligible Medicaid expansion population. The fact sheet discusses alignment of ABP benefits to other coverage vehicles, highlights trends in approved ABP State Plan Amendments, and provides technical assistance for advocates when evaluating their states’ ABP.  

  • NHeLP Issues Statement on Lawsuit Filed Against State of Tennessee

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) released a statement on the federal class action lawsuit filed against the state of Tennessee by NHeLP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Tennessee Justice Center. The lawsuit, which was filed after CMS sent state officials a letter indicating the state failed to meet six of seven critical Medicaid success factors required by the ACA, alleges that Tennessee makes it harder than any other state to apply for Medicaid coverage. Jane Perkins, legal director for NHeLP stated, “Each day that Tennessee fails to follow the law, the health and lives of more Tennesseans are put at risk. We are monitoring [Medicaid] enrollment in other states, and at this point, Tennessee is among the worst, if not the worst, offenders. The state is doing the least to help its residents obtain health insurance coverage they are qualified for and need.”

  • NHeLP Publishes Lessons from California on the Medi-Cal Application Backlog

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    NHeLP: In the July issue of Lessons from California, the National Health Law Program discussed the backlog of Medicaid applications pending since at least January 2014. The Issue Brief notes that California’s current mitigation plan will only reduce the number of pending applications from 600,000 to 350,000 and, unless the State delays Medi-Cal renewals, the system will become even more strained in the coming months. The Issue Brief highlights  advocates’ work to assist with the backlog including developing proposed mitigation strategies, draft consumer notices language, and policy recommendations including presumptive eligibility.  

  • NHeLP Comments on Annual Redetermination Process for 2015

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program submitted comments to CMS on the proposed regulations and sub-regulatory guidance released on annual redeterminations. The comments propose recommendations about renewal processes for individuals enrolled in Qualified Health Plans, propose alternative renewal procedures, and provide guidance on Marketplace renewal notices. KidsWell grantee, Community Service Society of New York (CSS), signed onto the comments. 

  • KidsWell Partners Issue Statements on ACA Appeals Court Rulings on Subsidies

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    NHeLP, YI, & FL: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and Young Invincibles issued statements in response to the Halbig v. Burwell ruling that ACA subsidies are only available to consumers in state-run Marketplaces. Florida CHAIN issued a statement explaining the immediate impact of the ruling. NHeLP also issued a statement praising the unanimous opinion in King v. Burwell that upheld the ACA’s subsidies in state-run Marketplaces.

  • NHeLP Comments on Draft Marketplace Renewal Issuer Notices

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) sent comments to CMS on its June 26th “Insurance Standards Bulletin Series” which contained draft notices that issuers must provide to Qualified Health Plan (QHP) enrollees as part of the redetermination process. The comments recommend simplifying notice language to be more consumer friendly and separating notices that contain generalized information from those containing personalized information or requiring consumer action. NHeLP also recommended that issuer notices conform with accessibility requirements and that CMS create a notice development checklist for State-Based Marketplaces. KidsWell grantee, Community Service Society of New York (CSS), and other advocates joined the comment letter.  

  • NHeLP Publishes ACA Litigation Primer

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program released a newsletter highlighting ongoing ACA litigation.  The newsletter summarizes major cases seeking to: repeal the ACA; strike down the contraceptive coverage requirement; and enforce specific ACA provisions.
  • NHeLP Makes Recommendations to Ease the Medi-Cal Application Backlog

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program, along with nearly 20 other Health Consumer Alliance partners, sent a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown with recommendations on how the State may alleviate the Medi-Cal application backlog.  The letter recommends: granting presumptive eligibility for applications pending longer than 45 days; providing accelerated eligibility to all children; approving pending applications if income is “reasonably compatible” with available data sources; increasing IT access for county workers; communicating directly with all pending applicants; ceasing renewals for existing beneficiaries and extending their eligibility; and educating Medi-Cal providers.  
  • NHeLP Highlights Comprehensive Medi-Cal Coverage for Pregnant Women

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    NHeLP: The National Health Law Program released an issue brief and infographic highlighting California’s new policy to provide the full scope of Medi-Cal benefits to pregnant women with incomes below 109% of the federal poverty level (FPL) beginning in 2015. Currently in California, only pregnant women with incomes below 60% of the FPL or who are in their third trimester and have incomes below 109% of the FPL are entitled to full Medi-Cal coverage.  In 2015, women with income between 139% and 213% of the FPL will have the option to enroll in pregnancy-related Medi-Cal, which is not comprehensive; enroll in a QHP with APTCs; or enroll in a QHP with APTCs and Medi-Cal with Medi-Cal providing premium assistance.

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