The Rhode Island Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity released a report that summarizes data collected through the state’s Health Equity Measures, a set of 15 measures that cover five domains, reports State Network. The report is intended to educate the General Assembly, state agencies and partner organizations on health inequities in Rhode Island and includes examples of programs and policies in the state and across the country that are showing promise for reducing inequities.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance has seen an uptick in consumer complaints surrounding low-cost, but limited, short-term health insurance plans, according to North Carolina Health News. The department logged 75 complaints related to short-term insurance in 2019, up from 48 the previous year. Over half of the complaints involved issues surrounding denied claims, exclusions of pre-existing conditions and delayed payments to consumers. However, in absence of data on the size of the market and the number of people enrolled in these plans, regulators remain in the dark about trends in that part of the health insurance market.
Open enrollment for the Massachusetts Health Connector has come to a close with a record number of people signing up, according to WWLP.com. More than 312,000 people are now enrolled for affordable coverage through the connector – 57,000 new people signed up this year, adding to a 91% retention rate from last year’s enrollment.
In accordance with an unfortunate national trend, the non-profit hospital Jackson Hospital filed suit against at least 1,302 Alabamians in 2019, according to AL.com. At least a half dozen patients were sued for less than $200. As a non-profit hospital, Jackson has obligations to provide charity care for needy patients in exchange for tax exemption; however, there are few specific requirements for the level of charity care or how aggressively hospitals may pursue debt collections. Jackson Hospital sued more patients than any other non-profit hospital in Alabama in 2019.
West Virginia state agencies have partnered to offer free public transportation to and from treatment and recovery services for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder, according to Appalachia Health News. The new initiative is part of the state’s Opioid Response Grant that was award by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This initiative will increase hours and add additionally off-route locations for individuals in need.
The Govenror and Lt. Governor of Colorado released an updated 2020 Roadmap to Savings Coloradans Money on Healthcare to reflect the progress made over the last year to lower healthcare costs for state residents. The updated roadmap notes some major inroads, including: an average reduction of 20.2 percent statewide in insurance premiums on the individual market, the design of a state public insurance option, and the establishment of a Behavioral Health Taskforce. The 2020 Action Items that the Office of Savings People Money on Health Care seeks to advance include adopting a state public insurance option, extending the state's reinsurance program, launching a statewide purchasing alliance, and launching a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
In a major victory for consumers, a federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, is allowing a lawsuit over EpiPen price hikes to move ahead, according to KCUR. The lawsuit will determine whether drugmakers sought to monopolize the EpiPen market after they dramatically hiked the price of the device, triggering consumer fury and a congressional investigation. The judge’s ruling also allows consumers to sue for damages under state antitrust laws.
Ohio’s Prescription Drug Transparency and Affordability Advisory Council, a panel of government, business and consumer advocates exploring ways to ensure that pharmaceutical drugs, has convened to discuss their recommendations for the state’s governor, according to the Times Reporter. Ohio currently spends about $3.5 billion a year on prescription drugs for state employees, injured workers, Medicaid beneficiaries, incarcerated prisoners and others. The Advisory Council is considering bulk purchasing and price transparency strategies..
SHADAC has released an update to Minnesota's Uninsured Profile Tool in partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota. The update enables users to view the rates and characteristics of the uninsured population by state, region, county, and ZIP code and by state legislative district. The profile, which is available for download on the SHADAC site, also includes an updated version of the companion interactive map.
A majority of Illinoisans have had difficulty affording healthcare and prescription drugs in the past year, according to a new study by Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey. According to a recent Health News Illinois article, Rep. Will Guzzardi unveiled a proposal that would create a new state board that would review data on drug prices and set new payment limits for state-regulated plans. This CHES Survey was commissioned by Protect Our Care Illinois and Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub.