Some states prepare to end the Children's Health Insurance Program with no new funding; shifting healthcare landscape reveals odd partnerships; Affordable Care Act sign-ups slow in third week of open enrollment.
With no new funding agreement reached in Congress for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), states are preparing to end the program. According to The Washington Post, officials in nearly a dozen states will be notifying families that the program is running out of money, which will put coverage at risk. There are 6 states that will run out of funding by early January. At the beginning of 2018, Texas plans to inform families the program could end without any additional federal funding. West Virginia voted to end its program by the end of February if Congress hasn’t acted by then.
The shifting healthcare landscape has led to some odd partnerships between pharmacy benefit managers, health systems, and insurers. With some recent mega-mergers blocked by officials, companies in the healthcare space are looking to make deals outside of their traditional business area, reported The New York Times. These partnerships are also fueled by disrupters entering the industry, such as the threat of Amazon joining the pharmacy business. However, while these new partnerships are touted as providing one-stop shopping, they could limit choices and increase costs.
After a strong start with enrollment numbers far higher than the previous year, sign-ups for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans slowed in the third week of open enrollment. Reuters reported that sign-ups were down 75,000 people from the previous week. As of the end of the third week, nearly 800,000 had signed up through HealthCare.gov. However, the number of new consumers signed up had increased week over week. The Congressional Budget Office expects 11 million people will sign up for coverage for 2018, up from 10 million in 2017.