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What We're Reading: Drug Price Hikes; Va. Medicaid Expansion; Health Exchange Enrollment

AJMC Staff
Nearly 30 drug makers will raise the prices of their medicines in January after a temporary halt to increases; more than 180,000 Virginians without insurance coverage will now have access to Medicaid coverage under the program’s expansion; despite lagging far behind 2017's enrollment numbers for most of open enrollment, the number of people who signed up for Affordable Care Act plans on HealthCare.gov was only down 4% after a surge of sign-ups last week.

Drug Companies Will Resume Price Hikes

Nearly 30 drug makers will raise the prices of their medicines in January after a temporary halt to increases. Reuters reported that some of the companies expected to increase prices were Allergan Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Amgen Inc, and Novartis AG. After criticisms from President Donald Trump, many drug makers had decided to pause drug price hikes. In California, where a new state law requires companies notify payers if they intend double-digit percentage increases over 2 years, 28 drug makers filed notifications for price increases.

 

Uninsured Virginians Enroll in Medicaid Under Expansion

More than 180,000 Virginians without insurance coverage will now have Medicaid coverage under the program’s expansion. The state General Assembly expanded Medicaid to cover people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty line, which made an additional 400,000 people eligible for Medicaid, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services expects 360,000 people to have enrolled by the end of 2019.

 

Despite Concerns, Health Exchange Enrollment Only a Little

Throughout open enrollment, the number of people signing up for Affordable Care Act plans on HealthCare.gov had lagged behind 2017. However, after a surge of sign-ups in the last week, enrollment is now only down 4% compared with the same point last year, reported The New York Times. In the last week of enrollment, 4.3 million people signed up, which surpassed the 4.1 million who signed up in the last week of 2017. CMS Administrator Seema Verma suggested that the low unemployment rate may have contributed to the drop since more Americans likely have employer-based coverage. The number of sign-ups increased in 5 states: Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

 
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