Come 2017, states will have a new tool at their disposal through which to pursue health care reform.

commonwealth fundAt that time, states will be able to seek new state innovation waivers from the federal government that will enable them to change covered benefits and insurance subsidies; replace health insurance exchanges; modify the individual or employer mandate; and do other things so long as their efforts ensure continued access to comprehensive and affordable health insurance. The waivers, created under the Affordable Care Act, are good for five years.

The Commonwealth Fund has published an issue brief that explains the section of the Affordable Care Act that includes state innovation waivers and outlines how states might use innovation waivers to customize health care reform for their own residents. Find that issue brief here.