State News

Georgia | Mar 4, 2024 | News Story | Health Costs

Georgia’s Reinsurance Waiver Associated with Decreased Enrollment and Affordability

In 2022, Georgia implemented a reinsurance program as part of its Section 1332 waiver of the
Affordable Care Act, but an analysis shows it may have reverse effects, according to a study in
Health Affairs. An analysis shows that the minimum cost of enrolling in subsidized coverage
increased 30 percent and overall enrollment numbers are down by one-third. This outcome
suggests that reinsurance programs may show unintended consequences for residents looking
for affordable health care coverage.

New Mexico | Mar 4, 2024 | News Story | Consolidation

New Mexico Requires Notification for Hospital Mergers

New Mexico will require hospitals to notify the state of mergers and acquisitions and grant the
state government oversight over such transactions, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. Under
the Health Care Consolidation Oversight Act, the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance’s
review of proposed transactions can include the potential reduction or elimination in access to
essential services, along with the availability, accessibility, and quality of health care services to
affected communities, including patient costs and potential for the transaction to affect health
outcomes for residents. The legislation follows a failed $11 billion health care merger in the
state and aims to address concerns over the trend of hospital acquisitions by out-of-state and
private equity firms.

Arizona | Mar 4, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Arizona Launches Medical Debt Relief Program

Arizona is partnering with non-profit RIP Medical Debt to forgive medical debt for up to one
million Arizonans, according to the Office of the Governor. The state will make up to $30 million
dollars in funds available to RIP Medical Debt to purchase debt from providers for pennies on
the dollar, and cancel the balance. Debt owed by Arizonans earning less than 400 percent of
the Federal Poverty Line or who owe more than five percent of their annual income will be
eligible for forgiveness.

Connecticut | Feb 29, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Connecticut Modifying 2024 Health Cost Growth Benchmark Due to High Inflation

Connecticut will be raising the cost growth benchmark target to four percent due to high inflation,
reports the state Office of Health Strategy. In consultation with health system stakeholders and
experts, OHS had previously established Connecticut's benchmarks at 3.4 percent for 2021, 3.2
percent for 2022, and 2.9 percent for 2023, 2024, and 2025. Notably, the statewide per-person
spending for 2020-2021 exceeded the 3.4 percent benchmark, with a 6 percent increase in
overall per-person spending statewide.

New Jersey | Feb 21, 2024 | Report | Price Transparency

New Jersey Passes Legislation Narrowing Timeframe for Prior Authorization

New Jersey residents will benefit from a new law designed to speed up the prior authorization
process, reports WHYY. Once it takes effect next year, health insurance companies must
decide on prior authorization requests within three days. In cases of urgent medication needs, a
response from the insurance company is required within 24 hours of the doctor's request.
Notably, New Jersey is the second state, after Washington, to pass such legislation, with over
20 other states currently considering similar bills.

Connecticut | Feb 2, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

Connecticut to Remove Medical Debt for Thousands Across the State

Connecticut will become the first state to use American Rescue Plan Funding to forgive medical
debt among residents, reports New Hampshire Public Radio. Last year, state policymakers
allocated $6.5 million in the state budget towards erasing eligible residents' medical debt and
over the next several months, Connecticut will collaborate with a nonprofit that purchases
medical debt at a reduced rate to begin the process. Eligibility for relief extends to state
residents whose medical debt exceeds five percent of their income or who earn up to four times
the federal poverty line. Notification for eligible individuals could occur as early as this summer,
according to the governor’s office.

Pennsylvania | Jan 31, 2024 | News Story | Health Costs

Pennsylvania Limits Cost-Sharing for Cancer Screening

Pennsylvania requires that health plans fully cover preventive cancer screenings for high-risk
individuals, according to GoodRx. Under Senate Bill 8, plans must offer no cost-sharing for
genetic testing and counseling for hereditary breast cancer, such as cancer linked to BRCA
genes, genetic testing for hereditary ovarian cancer and prostate cancer, and supplemental
breast screenings for people with a high lifetime risk of breast cancer.

Louisiana | Jan 25, 2024 | Report | Health Costs

The Weight of Medical Debt is Particularly Crushing in Louisiana

Medical debt is a growing crisis across the country, but is affecting Louisiana more than other
states, with residents owing nearly $2 billion, reports the Louisiana Illuminator. Louisiana ranks
in the top 10 states for the highest medical debt, with an average of $2,150 owed by its
residents—an estimated $1.9 billion statewide. Medical debt is more prominent in households
with those who are more vulnerable and or at risk: more households with children under 18
carried medical debt than those without (24.7% to 12.5%); among Black households, 27.9
percent face this issue; individuals living in poor health or with a disability are also more likely to
carry significant medical debt (21% and 14% of adults with medical debt).

New Jersey | Jan 23, 2024 | Report | Affordability

New Jersey Expands Insurance Coverage Requirements for Infertility Services

New Jersey has passed legislation designed to expand health insurance coverage requirements
for infertility services, reports CBS News Philadelphia. The bill mandates certain insurers
provide coverage for infertility services following American Society for Reproductive Medicine
guidelines and physician determination. Previously, enrollees could be denied coverage for
assorted reasons outside of their control, and this new legislation mandates coverage of
infertility services for a partner of a person who has successfully reversed a voluntary
sterilization, and further provides that nothing in the definition of “infertility” may be used to deny
or delay treatment to any individual, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation, as
well as prohibits health insurance carriers from imposing restrictions concerning the coverage of
infertility services based on age.

Alabama | Jan 18, 2024 | Report | Rural Healthcare

Health Care Access Grows Difficult in Shrinking Rural Communities

The lack of health care providers in rural Alabama is stark, with most of Alabama’s rural
counties having significantly more people per primary care physician than urban counties,
reports the Alabama Reflector. The average across the state is 1,520 people per one physician,
while the most populous Jefferson County has 875 primary care physicians to every resident.
As rural Alabama continues a decades-long population collapse, residents who remain—many
of whom are older—face increasing barriers to health care, a trend seen around the nation.