State News

Wyoming | Sep 22, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Older Wyoming Residents Express Concern About Affordable Health Care

A recent AARP survey in Wyoming found that affordable health care close to home was
a top priority for respondents, reports Wyoming News Now. Eighty-nine percent of those
surveyed reported that it is extremely or very important to be able to afford health care
expenses, including premiums and copays. Additionally, 88 percent of respondents felt
it was extremely or very important to afford adequate health insurance coverage.

New Mexico | Sep 19, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

New Mexico Requires Certain Commercial Insurers to Expand Behavioral Health Care Access

New Mexico’s superintendent of insurance issued an order requiring state-regulated commercial
health insurers to expand access to behavioral health services, reports Rio Rancho Observer.
Insurers are now required to cover out-of-network behavioral health services at in-network rates,
including services from primary care physicians, specialist visits, and inpatient hospital stays.

Connecticut | Sep 14, 2023 | Report | Drug Costs

Connecticut Launches State Prescription Drug Card

Connecticut residents, regardless of immigration status, now have access to a state-run
prescription drug discount card, reports NHPR. Beginning October 2, 2023, residents can sign
up for a free ArrayRx discount card that can be used at about 98 percent of pharmacies in the
state. All FDA-approved drugs are eligible for a discount, and it is estimated that the discount
card will decrease the costs of generic medications by upwards of 80 percent.

Massachusetts | Sep 13, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Health Policy Commission Finds Health Care Costs Burdens on Residents

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) published annual health care cost trends reports,
showcasing a wide range of data points that reveal significant strain on patients and employers,
reports WWLP 22 News. The report found health care costs growing faster than wages and that
the pace of spending growth is faster in Massachusetts than the national average. The HPC
recommended greater regulatory scrutiny of pharmaceutical companies, producing affordability
and equity targets, and strengthening its enforcement mechanisms.

Oregon | Sep 7, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Report Finds Spending on Health Care in Oregon Soars 40 Percent in Eight Years

The Oregon Health Authority found the state spent $31 billion on health care in 2021, a 40
percent increase from 2013, reports the Oregon Capital Chronicle. On average, households
spend 22 percent of their budget on premiums, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter items—
nearly $8,000 per year per person. Costs rose 3.5 percent between 2020 and 2021, close to the
3.4 percent cost growth benchmark limit. The report found that rising costs have
disproportionately affected communities earning the least.

Mississippi | Sep 7, 2023 | Report | Consolidation

Mississippi Exempts Hospital Acquisitions from State Antitrust Laws

Mississippi passed a law exempting hospital acquisitions and mergers from state antitrust laws,
reports the Missouri Independent. Senate Bill 2323 classifies community hospitals as
government entities, which are immune from antitrust enforcement, in an attempt to prevent
rural hospitals from closing by allowing larger hospital systems more flexibility to merge with or
acquire rural hospitals and keep them open. Notably, national studies have found that increased
hospital consolidation can increase costs for patients.

Texas | Sep 6, 2023 | Report | Price Transparency

Texas Medical Bill Transparency Law Requires Itemized Bills for Patients

In an effort to prevent medical debt and improve transparency, Texas hospitals are now
required to provide itemized bills to patients, reports Becker's Hospital Review. Beginning
September 1, 2023, hospitals must give patients an itemized bill, including plain language
descriptions of each charge and the payment amount, before sending them to collections.

Connecticut | Sep 5, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Connecticut Deploys Paraeducator Health Insurance Fund

Connecticut has announced the creation of a subsidy program designed to decrease annual
out-of-pocket health care costs for paraeducators across the state, reports the CT Mirror. The
subsidy is expected to pay up to 74 percent of the paraeducators' annual out-of-pocket health
care costs, and it is estimated that about 4,166 paraeducators will receive some amount of aid.
The stipend is a long-awaited relief for the 73 percent of paraeducators with high deductible
health plans who have been struggling to pay for their health care bills.

Colorado | Aug 30, 2023 | Report | Health Costs

Colorado Awarded $245M for Cost Savings from State Health Insurance Programs

Cost reductions from Colorado’s health insurance programs have saved $245 million, which the
state will receive in federal pass-through funding, reports Colorado Politics. The funding comes
from the state’s reinsurance program and the Colorado Option, marking the first time a state has
been awarded federal pass-through funding for a combined program. The funding will be used
to lower premiums through the reinsurance program, provide direct subsidies for Connect for
Health Colorado consumers, and support the OmniSalud Program, which allows undocumented
immigrants to obtain health insurance from Colorado Option plans.

Texas | Aug 29, 2023 | News Story | Drug Costs

Texas Enacts Canadian Drug Importation Program

Texas has created a Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Program, reports the Texas
. Under House Bill 25, the state can contract with Canadian drug wholesalers to import
prescription drugs to Texans at lower prices than U.S. wholesalers. Although the law goes into
effect September 1, the federal government has yet to approve and implement the programs
that will allow importation—it is unclear when or if the state will be able to import any
prescription drugs.