December 3rd 2013
Even with wide fluctuations in General Revenue over recent years, Arkansas is expecting a small increase in funding available to state agencies that provide important services like public safety, health, and education. According to yesterday's General Revenue Forecast from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, state general revenues for the previous fiscal year (FY13) came in above expectations surpassing FY2012 by 5.8 percent and resulting in a generous surplus. It's worth noting that FY13 net available revenue came in significantly higher for that year - $161.8 million - than the amount previously forecast for FY13 back in May. As a result of higher than anticipated collections for FY13, the current fiscal year's revenue (FY14) looks to have taken k a moderate dip (by 1.7 percent or $83.2 million). In comparison to FY14, the revenue available for the next fiscal year (FY15 beginning July 1 of 2014) is predicted to swing up again (by $96.9 million or 2 percent).
December 2nd 2013
With Arkansas's decision to offer coverage to low-income families through its Private Option style of coverage, most uninsured adults will choose a private health insurance plan through Arkansas's Marketplace. However, DHS estimates that about 10 percent of the state's uninsured who are also earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual or $32,499 for a family of four) will be deemed "medically frail" and enroll in health coverage administered by Medicaid rather than a private insurance plan through the Private Option. Those with chronic substance use disorders (SUDs) should be in the "medically frail" coverage, but it remains to be seen which plan they will choose.
November 27th 2013
As we blogged about last week, we know that many Arkansans need better access to treatment for substance use disorders (addiction to alcohol or drugs). Thankfully, the law requires new individual-market plans to cover SUDs, a new benefit that was uncommon prior to the Affordable Care Act. In Arkansas, substance use disorders were primarily covered through treatment centers funded partially by block grants and funding streams that rarely included billing private insurance plans. Waiting lists for treatment have been the norm.
November 26th 2013
Bergman Elementary School is a small school that's big on parent engagement. You might describe the town as "in the sticks"-located 10 winding miles north of Harrison on Highway 7 passing through forested mountains. Yet the small community is a National Blue Ribbon Award winner with a long list of programs and strategies employed to insure success for Bergman's students.
November 22nd 2013
Treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) is a little-discussed benefit that's part of all new plans in Arkansas's health insurance Marketplace and Private Option plans. We've been working for most of 2013 with Community Catalyst to ensure that those who need treatment for addiction are considered in policy decisions under the Affordable Care Act. We wanted to share some of the ways that we have helped - and can continue to help - the many Arkansas families affected by SUDs through this project.
November 20th 2013
Arkansas is home to one of the largest populations of Marshallese individuals in the world. Springdale, and increasingly, other areas of the state including Pine Bluff, have become home to thousands of people who were born in the Republic of the Marshall Islands but moved here for employment and to have a better life. They are free to travel, work, attend school and live in the United States under a Compact of Free Association that gives them special status under federal immigration policy.