Colorado has passed a law limiting the use of copay accumulators, reported by the Lupus Foundation of America. Copay accumulators prevent third-party financial assistance from counting toward a patient's deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, which can increase patient costs and limit access to care. Colorado's SB23-195 ensures that financial assistance can be used toward a patient's deductible and other cost-sharing requirements.
Texas have passed laws limiting the use of copay accumulators, reported by the Lupus Foundation of America. Copay accumulators prevent third-party financial assistance from counting toward a patient's deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, which can increase patient costs and limit access to care. Texas's HB 999 ensure that financial assistance can be used toward a patient's deductible and other cost-sharing requirements.
Communities of color in Massachusetts experience nearly $6 billion in avoidable annual health care spending and lost labor productivity due to poor health and the cost of premature death, according to a new study, reports Mass Live. The study, commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Health Equity Compact found premature deaths among residents of color cost $3 billion dollars, avoidable health care spending costs $1.5 billion, and lost labor productivity costs another $1.4 billion across a variety of industries. Without action, authors warned that inequity costs will nearly double in a single generation, reaching $11.2 billion annually in today’s dollars by 2050.
Colorado passed legislation directing the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to track hospital price transparency compliance and refer those in violation to the attorney general, reports CBS News Colorado. The state is aiming to enforce federal price transparency requirements, which advocates argue federal regulators have failed to do. It will be considered a deceptive trade practice if hospitals do not post their prices, with an accompanying fine of $20,000 per violation.
Colorado passed legislation capping the out-of-pocket cost for a two-pack of epinephrine auto-injectors at $60, reports The Denver Post. While the law only applies to state-regulated health insurance plans, residents who do not have a state-regulated plan or Medicaid or Medicare coverage will still be able to access epinephrine auto-injectors for $60 by applying for an affordability program, beginning next year.
Washington has passed a number of bills intended to lower out-of-pocket costs for routine screenings and equipment, according to The Lund Report. Senate Bill 5729 caps the cost of insulin at $35 for a 30-day supply but without the 2-year expiration date that previous legislation had. Senate Bill 5242 eliminates cost-sharing for abortions in health plans that cover the procedure, which includes all plans that cover maternity care. House Bill 1222 requires large group health plans and plans offered to public employees to include certain hearing-related coverage, including hearing aids and assessments. Senate Bill 5396 eliminates copays for breast examinations used to screen for cancer. Finally, House Bill 1626 requires the Health Care Authority to certain colorectal cancer tests under medical assistance programs, as well as colonoscopies if there is a positive result.
Oregon legislators have failed to pass legislation banning copay accumulators for the third time in the past three years, reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. Copay accumulators, also known as copay maximizers, were designed to keep patients from choosing expensive medications when a generic alternative is available, but can result in patients paying thousands of dollars more than they may have expected, especially for specialty drugs where there isn’t a low-cost alternative. Sixteen states have banned copay accumulators, and while Oregon legislators have proposed legislation banning these programs in recent years, the efforts have failed to pass.
Minnesota has passed legislation to set the foundation to introduce a public option for residents with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, reports Axios. The measure requires the state to submit a waiver application to CMS seeking approval to implement a public option and to conduct a study and actuarial analysis prior to the implementation of the program. The program is expected to augment the existing MinnesotaCare program and begin offering coverage in 2027.
New Orleans is partnering with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to wipe out millions in medical debt for eligible residents, reports Axios New Orleans. The program will buy debt owed by residents whose incomes are less than four times the poverty level, or who owe more than five percent of their annual income. About 22 percent of Louisianans have medical debt, which disproportionately affects people of color; the program could help an estimated 80,000 New Orleans residents by cancelling about $130 million in debt.
Minnesota has expanded their MinnesotaCare program to allow all low-income residents, regardless of immigration status, to enroll, reports the Minnesota Reformer. The state plans to start enrolling undocumented residents by 2025. Approximately 17 percent of Minnesota's uninsured population consists of undocumented individuals, and the proposal is expected to expand coverage to an additional 40,000 residents.