What We're Reading: Minnesota Sets Up Fund to Help Cover Health Premium Hikes

What we're reading, January 20, 2017: Minnesota will help residents with steep insurance premium hikes; the director of the National Institutes of Health appointed by President Barack Obama will stay on under the new administration; Anthem will end pre-authorization for opioid use disorder treatments.

As states face the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and rising healthcare costs, they are trying to provide help to residents who need it most. According to the AP, Minnesota will use $300 million in rainy day funds to help offset health insurance premium hikes. Money in the fund won’t be available to residents who receive subsidies, but will help those who saw premiums increase by 50% to 67% since last year. The state was an early adopter of the ACA, and is the only Midwestern state with its own insurance marketplace.

As the incoming administration taps new leaders for positions filled by outgoing President Barack Obama, one face will remain the same. The Washington Post reported that Francis Collins, MD, PhD, has been asked to stay in his position as director of the National Institutes of Health—for now. There are no additional details about whether or not he will stay on permanently. Collins won’t be the only familiar face. Approximately 50 senior officials in the Obama administration have been asked to stay on temporarily.

Anthem has reached an agreement with the New York attorney general to end pre-authorizations for drugs to treat opioid use disorder. The company required prior approval forms for coverage of medication-assisted therapy (MAT) to treat opioid addiction even when doctors had training regarding MAT, reported USA Today. Anthem is working to increase the number of consumers who receive behavioral health services as part of treatment for opioid addiction, and it plans to reduce the amount of opioid given to members.