USDE Provides New Guidance for Protecting Student Privacy

On February 25, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published new guidance for protecting student privacy while using online educational services. The guidance addresses the privacy and security of computer software, mobile applications (apps), and web-based tools provided by a third-party vendor to a local education agency (LEA) through which students and/or parents have access to online educational services. The guidance does not apply to electronic tools/services to which students and parents do not have access, e.g., an online student information system used exclusively by school officials for administrative purposes. [More]

Covered California Exceeds Enrollment Targets

Covered California, the nation’s largest health insurance Exchange, released enrollment data on February 19, 2014 demonstrating that it has already achieved and exceeded its targets for the entire October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014 enrollment period. Cumulative enrollments in qualified health plans offered through Covered California reached 828,638 in mid-February. [More]

HHS Report Shows Continuing Growth in Exchange Enrollments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report on February 12, 2014 that shows a 53 percent increase in enrollments in qualified health plans through Exchanges during January 2014, in contrast to cumulative enrollments throughout the entire October – December 2013 period. The cumulative total of individuals who have selected an Exchange plan now stands at 3,299,492, including 1,359,904 enrolled through State-based Exchanges and 1,939,588 enrolled through Federally-facilitated Exchanges. California continues to lead all State-based Exchanges with a total of 728,086 enrollees, followed by New York (211,290), the State of Washington (88,945), and Colorado (68,454). Exchanges have determined 7,267,230 individuals eligible to enroll in plans offered through the Exchanges, but enrollment stands at 3,299,492 because eligible applicants can take more time to consider their options, choose a plan, and actually enroll. [More]

Report Outlines State Strategies to Promote Continuity of Care

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) released a January 2014 report outlining valuable recommendations and exemplary practices to avoid disruptions in care for individuals transitioning between Medicaid and Exchange health plans. Such transitions, often referred to as “churn”, can result from changes in beneficiary income, employment status, marital status, family composition, age, residency, consumer preferences among competing health plans, and other variables. Such transitions can affect coverage benefits, available provider networks, and service authorizations for the beneficiary -- critical factors especially for persons undergoing treatment for complex, high-risk, and high-cost health conditions. [More]

NY Supreme Court Dismisses Parents’ Lawsuit to Halt Student Data Sharing

On February 5, 2014, the New York Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by twelve parents or guardians (parents) of New York City school students challenging the authority of the New York State Education Department (SED) to release students’ personally identifiable information (PII) to inBloom, Inc., a third-party vendor, without parent consent. According to background information in the court decision, SED maintains a longitudinal data system (LDS) that stores student data in a centralized data warehouse. Through a service agreement with inBloom, SED is implementing plans to expand the existing LDS and develop new data portals to make the LDS more accessible to education stakeholders, including educators, parents, and students. [More]

Medicaid Eligibility and FFM Applications

Medicaid eligibility determination through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) has been a source of confusion. For individuals denied for Medicaid who want to re-apply to the FFM, PCG received confirmation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that healthcare.gov has been updated to include a question about whether a consumer has previously received a denial from Medicaid. Detailed information about the question and how to respond can be found at the link below. [More]

PCG Completes Refugee Microenterprise Program in San Diego County

PCG was contracted in April 2011 to design and implement a two-year Refugee Child Care Microenterprise Training and Technical Assistance program as part of PCG's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Welfare-to-Work program in San Diego County, California. The program met or exceeded all contractual measures in each of the two program years, and was widely seen as highly successful by program participants, the County of San Diego, and by program partners. Over the two-and-a-half year project, PCG assessed more than 850 clients for suitability for the program, trained more than 150 participants in small business acumen and financial literacy, helped 72 participants receive their California Child Care License, and helped 31 participants start their businesses. [More]