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State Policy Updates as of March 27, 2020

Missouri to Cover Adults 19-64 with incomes up to 85% FPL under Medicaid

The Governor and Executive Departments are working to enact many policy changes that will aid those Missourians who are most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. One such change – Missouri adults between the ages of 19-64, with incomes up to 85% FPL, who positive for COVID-19 will be covered by Medicaid.

Department of Social Services Medicaid & Home Delivered Meals Waiver

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid approved an 1135 and 1115 Waivers for Missouri today and in response to requested changes to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Among other provisions, the waiver provides more flexibility to health facilities on the number of beds they can use and who can work in their facilities.  The flexibility will allow hospitals to triage patients who present at emergency rooms and transfer those with less urgent needs to other providers. The letter requesting the waiver and its outline of modifications can be found here

The CMS letter of approval is available here.

SNAP Changes

A media advisory from the Department of Social Services summarizes changes in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) program that have been approved.  Changes include increases in allotment and aid to new families on free or reduced-price lunch.  A copy of the press release can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance

For the week ending March 21st, Missouri’s Department of Labor, Division of Employment Security processed more than ten times the initial unemployment claims that it has processed the week before. In that one week, it processed almost a quarter of the total of individual claims in processed in all of 2019.

As called for in MBP’s paper, the Division also eased some requirements related to work requirements and waiting periods.

The U.S. Congress has enacted several unemployment provisions in response to the crisis, including increased benefits and extending unemployment benefits to those who don’t typically qualify. A very good, brief description of these changes is available here from National Employment Law Project.

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