Payer Roundup—Connecticut Democrats introduce public option bill

Connecticut Democrats are introducing the idea of public health for those that can't afford ACA, and more insurance news from around the web. (Getty/Lady-Photo)

Connecticut Democrats introduce public health coverage

Democrats have introduced legislation in Connecticut that would create a public option for healthcare coverage, allowing individuals and small businesses to buy insurance through the state.

The proposal would create multiple plans starting in July and in 2021 the state would begin offering a new health insurance option that any state resident could join. The idea is to offer inexpensive coverage options for those who do not qualify for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Insurance companies are arguing that the public option would force private companies to pay market rate, while public options would pay providers below-market reimbursement rates, destabilizing the market. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Kansas: Dems ramp up support for Medicaid expansion

Democrats in Kansas are ramping up support for a proposal to expand Medicaid after conservatives said they would block it. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly held a two-hour seminar on the potential benefits of expanding state health coverage.

The drive for support will include a rally on March 19.

And while the House’s health committee has had discussions on Medicaid expansion all week, there is no indication that any committee, House or Senate, planning to vote on a bill anytime soon. (Associated Press)

ACA market ends strong in 2018

ACA plans ended well in the fourth quarter of 2018 and health spending remains contained, but still too high, according to a Moody’s Investors Service earnings report emailed to FierceHealthcare.

Looking at results of the seven publicly traded health insurers, the rate of growth for national health spending declined in 2017 due to the lower utilization of hospital care, physician and clinical services, and prescription drugs. Still, healthcare costs far exceeded the overall inflation rate of 2.1%. 

“Drivers of the results were stable medical cost trends in the mid-single digits, vastly improved performance in the individual market, and stability in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid reimbursements,” Dean Ungar, Moody’s vice president and senior analyst, said in the report.

The fourth quarter also marked the closing of the $69 billion CVS/Aetna acquisition and the $67 billion Cigna/Express Scripts transactions.

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