Premium assistance programs have been available to state Medicaid agencies for decades as an alternative to traditional Medicaid or managed care. Arkansas and other states have used premium assistance through Medicaid to subsidize eligible individuals’ costs for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), albeit with limited participation due to operational complexity and heterogeneity of employer-sponsored coverage. Premium assistance for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) was adopted by Arkansas Medicaid in 2010 as the Arkansas Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) program. In contrast, Arkansas’s Health Care Independence Program (HCIP) provides health care coverage to over 200,000 lowincome Arkansans by offering premium assistance for individual coverage through the health insurance marketplace (HIM). Arkansas’s novel approach to individual premium assistance finances coverage for the newly eligible Medicaid population under a federally approved Section 1115 demonstration waiver.
This fact sheet will discuss ESI premium assistance in Arkansas, premium assistance through the HCIP, and ways that other states are using ESI premium assistance as a feature of expanded coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).