Payer Roundup—Rate of uninsured down, hospital bills up under Colorado's Medicaid expansion

Under Medicaid expansion in Colorado, the rate of uninsured people has gone down but the cost of hospital bills has gone up, plus more payer news. (Getty/Milenius)

Colorado’s Medicaid expansion: Rate of uninsured down, hospital bills up

Since Colorado enacted Medicaid expansion in 2014, St. Mary’s Medical Center has seen some stats improve, as the number of uninsured patients has dropped by more than half, saving the hospital about $3 million a year.

However, hospital prices and overall healthcare bills have not decreased. A new state report shows that while hospitals are financially better off since the expansion, the increased costs have shifted onto private health plans. In fact, St. Mary’s profit margin was above 14% from 2015 to 2017, nearly double the hospital’s margin before expansion.

For example, the average cost of discharge for a privately insured patient in 2009 was $6,800 and in 2017 rose to $11,000. (Kaiser Health News)

Georgia legislature passes two bills affecting Medicaid

The Georgia House passed a bill that would allow Gov. Brian Kemp to seek healthcare waivers from the federal government to expand and improve coverage. At the same time, the state’s Senate passed a bill to change Georgia’s certificate-of-need system regulating providers.

The legislation has two parts: One waiver would add people to the Medicaid rolls and the other would allow Georgia to revise the setup of the state health insurance exchange. 

The cost and coverage of Medicaid waiver plans had the legislature split along party lines. Democrats argued that Senate Bill 106 was not as good of a deal for the state as full Medicaid expansion, while Republicans argued that Georgia will gain more flexibility to change the Medicaid program. (Georgia Health News)

Humana employees reach insurer's 'bold goal' of 20% more healthy days

Employees at Humana are leading by example in the insurers' Bold Goal program, which aims to boost health in the communities it serves by 20% by 2020.

Staffers saw 20% more "healthy days" in 2018 compared to 2012, based on a population health tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that measures physical and mental health.

In response to meeting the goal, Humana has set a new one for 2022, seeking 500,000 more healthy days in the next three years. 

"We’ve been helping and inspiring one another, and along the way we’ve learned how to better help our members achieve a better mental and physical quality of life," Tim State, senior vice president of associate health and well-being at Humana, said in the announcement. "It’s a reason to celebrate, and to keep striving." (Announcement)