State News

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.

Arkansas | Jan 15, 2024 | Report | Social Determinants of Health

Disparities in Arkansas Child Health Persist, Especially for Black Families

Arkansas’ Black children consistently have worse health outcomes from birth onward than
children of other races, reports the Arkansas Advocate. On a scale of 0 to 1,000 for child
wellbeing, Black children scored 299, compared to 397 for Latino children, 597 for white
children, 562 for children of two or more races, 616 for American Indian or Alaska Native
children, and 624 for Asian and Pacific Islander children. Arkansas has the nation’s highest
maternal mortality rate and the third highest infant mortality rate regardless of race. Arkansas’
health burdens and disparities are augmented by a shortage of providers in rural areas.

Florida | Jan 12, 2024 | Report | Drug Costs

FDA to Allow Florida to Import Prescription Drugs from Florida

The FDA will allow the state of Florida to import certain prescription drugs from Canda to lower
drugs prices, reports KFF. The program has been authorized for a period of two years and
during its first year is estimated to save over $183 million. Imported drugs will only be available
to those that receive Medicaid, care through county health departments, or other state and
government funded health programs. Florida may initially import drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, mental
health conditions, and prostate cancer. Biological drugs, such as insulin, are not eligible for

California | Jan 9, 2024 | Blog | Consolidation

California Requires Notification for Health Care Mergers

California will require health care entities to notify the state of mergers closing on or after April 1,
2024, according to Triage Health Law. Entities will have to give the state 90-day notice for
certain mergers, acquisitions, or other health care service transactions that meet certain criteria,
such as having a market value of $25 million or more, increasing the entity’s California-derived
revenue by $10 million or 20 percent, or exchanging 25 percent or more of the California assets
for the submitted.