New Mexico has initiated a study to explore a Medicaid buy-in program, according to Source New Mexico. Intended to expand access to affordable health care, House Bill 400 directs the Human Services Department to evaluate a plan to lift Medicaid’s income cap and allow residents above the current cap to purchase affordable coverage by paying premiums and income-based co-pays.
Connecticut is expanding affordable access to health coverage for personal care attendants (PCAs), according to the Office of Governor Greg Lamont. PCAs provide vital care for individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses, but many do not have access to affordable health insurance. Under the agreement between the state government, advocates for individuals with disabilities, and health insurance providers,
PCAs will be able to enroll in the state’s health insurance exchange and receive subsidies to help pay for their premiums. This will provide access to comprehensive health coverage for thousands of PCAs who currently lack insurance.
Massachusetts’ Center for Health Information and Analysis released its latest annual report on the state’s health spending, reports AboutHealthTransparency.org. Following a decrease in spending in 2020 due to the pandemic, health spending increased 9 percent in 2021. Pharmacy spending grew the fastest between 2019-2021, at an annualized rate of 7.5 percent. Additionally, among private commercial plans, enrollment in high deductible health plans increased by 4.1 percent, along with member cost-sharing growing 16.9 percent.
A new survey found that 83 percent of voters in Maine believe that all residents, regardless of immigration status, should have access to low-cost health care, reports the Beacon. The survey aims to measure the impacts the cost of health care and insurance have on residents’ ability to access needed care. Maine’s Medicaid program is available to people who are pregnant and those under age 21, regardless of immigration status, but does not provide coverage for other adults.
A new report provides information on potential savings for prescription drugs by using international reference pricing with costs from several Canadian provinces, from the Maine Health Data Organization. The report focused on the most expensive drugs and the most frequently prescribed drugs in Maine that have a Canadian equivalent. Using a reference rate based on the lowest cost option identified in the Canadian provinces, the report calculates a potential savings of $146.7 million for 72 drugs—of which over 98 percent is for brand drugs, rather than generics. Overall, the report found that many drugs patented in the US are not under patent in Canada, allowing for generic competition. However, there are not as many prescription drug products available in Canada that are equivalent to those available in the US.
Only fifteen percent of Kansas hospitals are in compliance with federal price transparency guidelines, reports KCUR. Data from a February 2023 Patient Rights Advocate report found that many hospitals in the state are not compliant with the federal rule. Beginning in 2023, the Biden administration has increased possible fines for non-compliance; however, “shopping” for services remains a challenge in the state.
The new Minnesota Prescription Drug Price Transparency (RxPT) initiative reveals high and varied prices, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The initiative includes detailed data available in several interactive dashboards on the MDH Prescription Drug Price Transparency website. Cursory findings from the data demonstrate that prescription drug prices have grown significantly faster than the rate of inflation. The dashboard, along with the accompanying report, provides information for consumers and policymakers as they examine prescription drug prices and efforts to curb rising prices
Maryland’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board released a report detailing price trends and the number of prescription drugs subject to their review, according to State of Reform. The board found that prescription drug prices outpaced inflation by a difference of 31.5 percent to 8.5 percent, and over 800 drugs have increased in price over the last three years.
Two in ten Connecticut residents insured through the state's health insurance marketplace struggle to afford necessities due to health care costs, according to the Hartford Courant. Despite the burden of medical debt across the state, area hospitals spend less than the national average on financial assistance programs to support disadvantaged communities.
A survey from the California Health Foundation finds that 52 percent of respondents either skipped or delayed at least one kind of health care due to cost in the past year, with higher rates for low-income respondents and Black and Latino respondents, according to The Center Square . Higher-income respondents less frequently thought that affordability was very or extremely important compared to lower-income respondents, as were white respondents compared to Black, Latino, and Asian respondents.