Payer Roundup—New York to give Aetna $9.4M tax break package; Graham-Cassidy bill benefits select states

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This week, New York City’s industrial development agency announced that it approved a $9.4 million tax-break package for Aetna. (Getty/Ultima_Gaina)

Aetna will score a sizable tax break with its move from Connecticut to New York.

This week, New York City’s industrial development agency announced that it approved a $9.4 million tax-break package for the insurer, which had been headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, since 1853.

The package will include up to $5 million in sales tax benefits, $3.6 million in property tax abatements over 10 years and $782,000 in energy bill discounts. In addition, the state of New York will also give Aetna $24 million in performance-based tax credits over 10 years.

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Aetna is expected to start moving into its new headquarters, at 61 Ninth Avenue, starting in late 2018. (Reuters)

Graham-Cassidy bill includes provisions aimed at helping certain states

The GOP’s newest Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replacement bill would exempt both Alaska and Montana from some of the Medicaid cuts it imposes, and it contains a provision that could mean extra funding for Wisconsin.

The former provision is particularly notable, since Senate GOP leaders have been actively courting the vote of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who hasn’t yet said how she will vote on the bill drafted by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The latter provision, meanwhile, doesn’t mention Wisconsin by name—but analysts said that is the only state that it applies to, since the state took the unusual step of partially expanding Medicaid. It could mean “potentially hundreds of millions” of extra dollars for the state, which happens to be the home of one of the bill's co-sponsors, Sen. Ron Johnson. (The Washington Post and the Associated Press)

Medicaid expansion improved beneficiaries’ finances

Not only did Medicaid expansion improve individuals’ access to coverage, but it also improved their financial health, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review, examined data from one of the major credit bureaus from 2010-2015 to evaluate the early effects of Medicaid expansion on multiple dimensions of personal finance.

It concluded that among nonelderly adults in Medicaid expansion states, there was a 3.3% reduction in having one or more medical bills sent to a collection agency in the previous six months; a 2.8% reduction in new bankruptcy filings, and a 2.6% reduction in the probability of incurring a recent, severely overdue debt balance of $1,000 or more.

“This work demonstrates how the ACA Medicaid expansions have improved economic well-being of low-income Americans, which at the same time has implications for providers and payers of medical services,” the study concludes. (Study)

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