Although most Medicaid agencies cover services that can be used as alternatives to opioids for pain management, significantly fewer states have policies or procedures in place to encourage their use. Between March and June 2016, the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) conducted a survey of all 51 Medicaid agencies to determine the extent to which states have implemented specific programs or policies to encourage or require non-opioid therapies for acute or chronic non-cancer pain. We contacted each Medicaid Director via email. In cases of non-response, we followed up with Medicaid Medical Directors. Ultimately, we received responses from 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Every open enrollment affords the health insurance marketplaces new opportunities to introduce innovative ways to improve their systems while lowering costs. For the 2015-16 open enrollment season, DC Health Link, Washington DC’s health insurance marketplace, levied such an opportunity by transferring their marketplace onto a new open source code solution. Agile, efficient, and cost effective, open source code is an intriguing possibility for state-based marketplaces (SBMs) looking to contain costs while improving their technology and consumer experience. After switching to an open source code solution for the 2015-2016 enrollment season, DC Health Link has reported significant savings, a reduction in consumer complaints, and greater agility to address and improve technical functions. This brief uses the experience of DC Health Link to explore how other SBMs may be able to leverage open source technology to find similar benefits.