State News

New Mexico | Apr 8, 2023 | News Story | Drug Costs

New Mexico Limits Cost Sharing Contributions for Prescription Drugs

New Mexico has passed a law to reduce consumer prescription drug costs, according to the Los Alamos Daily Post. Senate Bill 51 stipulates that insurers must apply any discounts enrollees
receive to their cost-sharing obligation for prescription drugs, ensuring that pharmacies pass on discounts to consumers.

Colorado | Apr 6, 2023 | Blog | APCD Equity

Health Equity Analysis Shows Social Factors Strongly Related to Emergency Department Visits

A health equity analysis of data from Colorado’s APCD found that social factors such as income, housing, race, and education are strongly associated with potentially preventable visits to the emergency department, according to the Center for Improving Value in Health Care. In urban areas, all five social factors evaluated (income, education, employment, housing/transportation, and race/ethnicity/language) were all strongly correlated to greater preventable emergency department visits and adults not receiving preventive care. However, in rural areas, only income and education levels impacted potentially preventable emergency visits and only income levels influenced adults not getting preventive care. Statewide, the social factors analyzed did not show an impact on children and adolescents receiving preventive health care.

South Carolina | Apr 5, 2023 | News Story | Health Costs

South Carolina Repeals Tax on Women’s Health Products

South Carolina policymakers passed legislation exempting feminine hygiene products from sales tax, reports The Hill. Approximately 200,000 women in South Carolina are impacted by period poverty, and the repeal of the tax aims to improve health care affordability and access for women across the state by reducing the financial burden of menstrual products.

Connecticut | Apr 3, 2023 | News Story | Health Costs

Connecticut Health Care Spending Outpaces Economic Growth, Exceeds Cost Growth Benchmark

Health care spending in Connecticut has eclipsed economic growth in recent years, according to Connecticut Public Radio. Spending increased 6 percent between 2020 and 2021, which exceeded the state benchmark target of 3.4 percent, and was driven primarily by increases in commercial health insurance spending.

New York | Apr 1, 2023 | Report | Affordability

The Basic Health Program: Considerations for States and Lessons from New York and Minnesota

The basic health program (BHP) in New York and Minnesota succeeded in helping low-income consumers access affordable care and reducing administrative complexity, but those results may not be replicable in other states, based on state-specific factors such as regulation and provider reimbursement, according to a report from the Urban Institute. While only two states implemented a BHP after the ACA was enacted, several states have recently begun considering their own programs: Oregon, Kentucky, Illinois, and West Virginia. However, the fiscal impact of a BHP can vary based on the coverage provided, Marketplace premiums, and provider reimbursement rates. One factor in New York’s success has been the state’s ban on age rating in the individual market. New York and Minnesota both reported stable markets with many insurers participating in their BHP, but it is difficult to predict how insurers in other states will react.

Oregon | Mar 27, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Oregon Saves Millions Using Reference-Based Pricing

Oregon established Medicare reference-based pricing for hospitals for its state employee health plans in 2017, and a 2021 audit found over $112 million in savings, reports NASHP. Payments for in-network and out-of-network services are not to exceed 200 and 185 percent of Medicare reimbursements, respectively; average reimbursements went from 215 percent of Medicare reimbursement amounts prior to the legislation’s enactment in 2017, to 163 percent in 2021.

North Carolina | Mar 27, 2023 | News Story | Health Costs

North Carolina Expands Medicaid

North Carolina has become the 40th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to The New York Times. This expansion will allow low-income residents to access free health insurance through the state’s Medicaid program, estimated to cover 600,000 people. The expansion will take effect once the state adopts a budget, which is expected by June.

Wyoming | Mar 23, 2023 | Report | Price Transparency

Wyoming Prescription Drug Transparency Act Passed

A prescription drug transparency bill has been signed into law, requiring drug manufactures to disclose list prices of their medications in Wyoming, reports Wyoming News Now. The governor vetoed line items in the bill that would have required manufacturers to disclose the reasons for price increases and information on financial assistance for patients, citing too great a burden on small business pharmacies. Critics argue that this weakened version of the bill does not address the root causes of high drug prices and will not provide meaningful relief to consumers.

District of Columbia | Mar 23, 2023 | News Story | Health Costs

D.C. to Cancel $90M in Residents’ Medical Debt

D.C. officials plan to cancel as much as $90 million in residents’ medical debt, reports The Washington Post. The District will use surplus funding to purchase debt on behalf of residents earning up to four times the federal poverty level or whose medical debt is great than five percent of their income. People of color in D.C. are three times as likely to hold medical debt as white residents, and of the 90,000 residents with medical debt, it is estimated that over 40,000 residents have debt in active collections, which can further exacerbate health disparities and the impacts of medical debt.

Illinois | Mar 21, 2023 | News Story | Medical Harm

Report Shows Illinois Communities Harmed by Medical Debt

A report from several Illinois advocacy organizations outlines the harms of medical debt for Illinois families, particularly immigrant and Black communities, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The report includes personal stories from multiple affected residents, intended to illustrate the harms caused by hospitals charging low-income people for services when they should have been eligible for financial assistance, but were not screened.