State News

Massachusetts | Dec 13, 2023 | Report | Price Transparency

Changes to Dental Insurance Regulations to Take Effect in 2024

New dental insurance regulations are slated to take effect in Massachusetts at the start of the
new year, 14 months after the measure was approved by voters, reports WCVB. The
regulations require insurers to provide refunds to members if the insurer spends less than 83
percent of premiums on members’ expenses. Insurers will also be required to file base rates
and rating factors, which will be subject to approval by the insurance commissioner.

Mississippi | Dec 8, 2023 | Report | Mortality Rate

Mississippi Maternal Mortality Rates Higher for Black Women Compared to White Women

A study shows that Black women in Mississippi were four times more likely to die of pregnancy-
related causes than white women in 2020, reports WLBT3. Published by the State Department
of Health's Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the report found that the rate of pregnancy-
related deaths among Black non-Hispanic women was 63 percent, compared to 15 percent for
white non-Hispanic women. The overall state mortality rate was 35.2 deaths per 1,000 live
births, 80 percent of which were preventable. The report noted that a substantial portion of care
is provided by smaller hospitals with limited resources, many facing closures and limiting or
discontinuing obstetrical services, further increasing burdens for these communities.

Illinois | Dec 4, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Illinois Hospitals Required to Screen Patients for Public Assistance Before Sending Bills to Collections

Starting in 2024, Illinois hospitals will be required to screen uninsured and underinsured patients
for public health insurance coverage and hospital financial assistance eligibility before pursuing
any collection action, according to JD Supra. The Protect Illinoisans from Unfair Medical Debt
bill is intended to protect patients against medical debt and reduce hospital debt as well. The bill
also requires that hospitals document when and why uninsured patients decline screening.

Washington | Dec 1, 2023 | Report | Consolidation

Legislative Report on Affordability Covers State of Washington’s Health Care System

A preliminary report to Washington State legislators outlines the current state of Washington’s
health care system, including recent market consolidation and a process for evaluating changes
that could improve affordability, published by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The
report highlights that the cost of care is driven by both rates of utilization and the price of
services, and efforts by private employers and the state to reduce health care costs.

Washington | Dec 1, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Washington Residents Face High Costs for Ambulance Rides

Ambulance passengers in Washington face high costs for ambulance rides despite having no
choice about the service, reports The Columbian. The federal No Surprises Act, which prohibits
balance billing for services in other areas of the health care sector including air ambulances,
does not protect against surprise bills for ground ambulances. The report from the Office of the
Insurance Commissioner
states that, on average, patients are responsible for more than $500 in
payment for emergency visits and more than $1,000 for non-emergency visits. The report
examines protections enacted by other states and issues policy recommendations for future
legislation to address the issue.

Idaho | Dec 1, 2023 | Report | Mortality Rate

Infant and Maternal Deaths on the Rise in Idaho

Infant and maternal mortality rates are rising in Idaho, reports Boise State Public Radio. Infant
mortality rates increased by 18 percent and maternal mortality increased by 121 percent from
2019 to 2021. The report, from advocacy group Idaho Kids Covered, finds 1 in 5 women did not
receive prenatal care in their first trimester. The state’s maternal mortality review committee was
dissolved in July after lawmakers declined to fund it.

Louisiana | Nov 27, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

LDH Outcomes Report Shows Important Progress Toward 2023 Goals

The Louisiana Department of Health completed 41 out of 45 goals and 234 out of 253
deliverables, according to the Louisiana Department of Health’s annual Outcomes Report. The
goals were selected from a range of policy priorities and include: addressing chronic disease;
improving maternal health; expanding Medicaid policies that address environmental health risks;
expanding the behavioral health system’s capacity; and improving services for citizens with
developmental disabilities.

Colorado | Nov 26, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Demand for Health Insurance for Undocumented Coloradans is Greater than Expected

OmniSalud, Colorado’s health insurance plan for low-income undocumented and DACA
recipient residents, filled all 11,000 spots for coverage with additional financial assistance in two
days when enrollment began at the beginning of November, reports 9News. Eligible residents
can still enroll in OmniSalud, but will have to pay monthly premium costs. Advocates say this
indicates that many undocumented residents are struggling to access health care and
underscores the necessity of the program.

Illinois | Nov 13, 2023 | Report | Price Transparency

Illinois Requires State Notification of Consolidation Transactions

Starting in 2024, Illinois healthcare providers engaging in mergers and acquisitions are required
to report the transaction to the state, according to the National Law Review. Under Public Act
103-0526, providers must notify the state Attorney General 30 days prior to any merger,
acquisition, or contracting affiliation with certain covered entities. The statute builds on previous
legislation authorizing the Attorney General to bring action on behalf of a private party if a
transaction provides unfair advantages to a large business entity to the detriment of consumers
and now covers contracts with out of state entities generating at least $10 million or more in
revenue from Illinois residents.

Utah | Nov 9, 2023 | Report | Affordability

Health Care is Unaffordable for Many Utahns

A 2023 survey found nearly seventy percent of Utahns experienced at least one health are
affordability burden in the previous year, up from 27 percent in 2020, reports The Salt Lake
. Utahns’ opinions of health care costs are similarly pessimistic — 86% worry about
affording health care in the future. Utah is working towards some of the recommended policies
in the survey, including working on setting a cost growth target by consensus through the One
Utah Health Collaborative.