State News

Massachusetts | Apr 19, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Massachusetts Receives Approval for 1115 Waiver to Make Health Care More Equitable and Affordable

The federal government has approved Massachusetts’ 1115 Waiver, which will make health
care more accessible, affordable, and equitable for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts
residents, according to the Office of the Governor. The Waiver enables Massachusetts to
expand health insurance subsidies to individuals who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid or
CHIP, offer services that are not typically covered by Medicaid, and to use innovative service
delivery systems to increase efficiency and affordability of care.

Wisconsin | Apr 18, 2024 | Report | Equity

Report Finds Health Care Disparities for Black and Hispanic Residents in Wisconsin

A report finds that Black and Hispanic people have poorer health care than white people in
Wisconsin, reports the Wisconsin Examiner. According to the Commonwealth Fund's 2024
State Health Disparities Report
, Wisconsin’s health care system has the fifth-worth overall
performance in the country for Black residents with an overall score of 14, and a score of 30 for
Hispanic residents—out of 100. By comparison, the state’s health system performance score for
white residents was 82.

California | Apr 18, 2024 | Blog | Health Costs

California Removes Asset Limits for Medicaid Eligibility

California’s Medicaid program has removed asset limits for enrollees and will instead only
consider income when assessing financial eligibility, according to the California Health Care
. Prior to 2022, people with more than $2,000 in qualified assets, including cash
savings, were ineligible for the state’s Medi-Cal program. Assembly Bill 133 eliminated the asset
test in two phases, with the limit raised to $130,000 in 2022 and eliminated altogether in 2024.

Indiana | Apr 18, 2024 | Report | Equity

Report Finds Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist in Indiana’s Health Care System

A report shows that racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes
persist in Indiana, reports WFYI Indianapolis. According to The Commonwealth Fund 2024
State Health Disparities Report, white people in Indiana experienced the highest health system
performance, while Black people experienced the lowest health system performance in the
state. In addition, Indiana ranked 28th of 47 states in health systems performance for Hispanic

Colorado | Apr 3, 2024 | Report | Price Transparency

Medical Debt Affects Much of America, but Colorado Immigrants Are Hit Especially Hard

Colorado’s overall medical debt burden is lower than most other states, but its racial and ethnic
disparities are wider, reports KFF Health News. The gap between the debt burden in ZIP codes
where residents are primarily Hispanic and/or non-white and ZIP codes that are primarily non-
Hispanic white is twice what it is nationally. Medical debt in Colorado is also concentrated in ZIP
codes with relatively high shares of immigrants, many of whom are from Mexico. Colorado has
taken steps to protect patients from medical debt, but the complexities of many assistance
programs remain a major barrier for immigrants and others with limited English proficiency.

Texas | Apr 1, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Texas has Fifth Highest Health Care Costs in the Nation

Texas has the fifth highest health care costs in the nation, reports to Houston Culture Map. The
report, from Forbes Advisor, found Texas’ average annual premiums for plus-one health
coverage ($4,626) and family coverage ($7,051) through employer-provided policies were the
4th highest in the nation. In addition, 16 percent of Texas adults chose not to see a doctor in the
past 12 months due to the cost of health care.

Rhode Island | Mar 26, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Rhode Island Health Care Premiums Among Highest in Nation

Rhode Island has some of the highest commercial healthcare premiums paid by families and
employers in the country, reports Providence Now. The findings, from a Rhode Island Business
Group on Health report
, indicate that, between 2012 and 2022, health insurance premium costs
in the state increased from 23 percent to 28 percent of median household income, leading to the
state having the 13th most expensive premiums in the nation. Notably, medical claims and
pharmaceutical costs represent nearly 88 percent of insurers' expenses, highlighting the need
for collaborative strategies to align health care stakeholders and contain costs. The report calls
on the state to focus on reducing hospital costs, which account for a significant portion of
medical expenses covered by premiums.

Indiana | Mar 22, 2024 | News Story | Consolidation

Indiana Requires Notification for Health Care Mergers

Indiana will require health care entities to notify the state of mergers and acquisitions effective
July 1, 2024, according to the National Law Review. Health care entities with total assets of at
least $10 million dollars must provide notice at least 90 days prior to the merger or acquisition,
including written notice to the office of the Attorney General (AG). The AG will then review the
information and analyze in writing any antitrust concerns with the transaction. The change
comes following recommendations by the state’s Health Care Oversight Task Force, which
highlighted the role market consolidation plays in driving up health care costs. Notably, the
dollar threshold is lower than other states with similar statutes and applies to a wider range of
health care entities, including private equity firms.

Massachusetts | Mar 20, 2024 | Report | Equity

Department of Public Health Launches Health Equity Plan to Address Racism as a Serious Public Health Threat

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has launched a strategic plan to
advance racial equity in all the work DPH undertakes and oversees, providing an action-
oriented roadmap to address underlying concerns that have perpetuated health inequities
across the state. The Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity is a call for action and
accountability to address the systemic inequities faced by people who identify as Black,
Indigenous, Latino and/or Asian or Pacific Islander, seeking to acknowledge, transform, and
improve the public health outcomes of all people in Massachusetts. The plan calls for
implementing a data equity framework, supporting a racial equity training series for staff, and
establishing a racial equity staff survey to enable staff to fully participate.

Kansas | Mar 19, 2024 | News Story | Health Costs

Survey Highlights Kansans’ Concerns about Health Care Affordability, Hunger

A survey conducted by Perry Undem on behalf of the Kansas Common Sense Fund reveals
widespread concerns among Kansans regarding health care affordability, reports the Kansas
. The survey revealed widespread concerns surrounding rural hospital closures and the
high cost of health care, in addition to bipartisan support for Medicaid expansion. Additionally,
there is strong support for government action to improve access to healthy food, expand
childcare programs, and provide tax credits for childcare expenses. Governor Laura Kelly has
proposed measures to address childcare shortages and health care affordability, but faces
opposition from lawmakers attempting to relax childcare regulations.