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Kaiser Permanente Sets Its Sights on Meeting Social Needs

June 17, 2019

Asserting that safe housing, balanced meals, transportation and other coordinated social supports will help optimize the health and well-being of its individual plan members as well as the communities in which they live, Kaiser Permanente on June 4 launched its national Thrive Local program first in its Northwest Region. That same day, to drive the point home, Kaiser Permanente released national survey findings on unmet social needs. Overall, 68% of respondents said they experienced at least one unmet social need in the past year, 28% said an unmet social need was a barrier to their health care, and 21% prioritized paying for food or rent over seeing a doctor or getting medication.

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Calif. Lawmakers Add Mandate, Cover Undocumented Adults

June 17, 2019

California created its own state-based individual mandate, added help for middle-income consumers purchasing coverage on the individual market, and agreed to pay for Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented young adults in a $213 billion legislative budget deal that left two other top issues for health insurers — a tax on managed care organizations and a new statewide drug purchasing plan — unresolved. L.A. Care Health Plan CEO John Baackes tells AIS Health that health insurers in California support the budget measures: “We’re very happy about all of this.” The California Association of Health Plans came out in favor of the increased subsidies and coverage of undocumented adults.

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Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands Face Medicaid Funding Cliff

June 17, 2019

Funding that has kept Medicaid programs afloat in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following the devastating hurricanes that hit two years ago is set to expire in September. And that could lead to steep enrollment cuts, budget shortfalls and increases in the uninsured population, a Kaiser Family Foundation report warns. If Congress does not take steps to extend the funding — a prospect complicated by the Trump administration’s hardline stance toward Puerto Rico — the two territories will face a health care fiscal cliff that could drive residents to the mainland U.S. to obtain Medicaid coverage.

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Anthem Fortifies Behavioral Health With Beacon Deal

with Chart: Anthem Enters Agreement to Buy Behavioral Health Leader Beacon Health Options

June 17, 2019

Industry observers seem to agree that Anthem, Inc.’s definitive agreement to acquire behavioral health company Beacon Health Options (see infographic, p. 6) from a private equity firm makes good strategic sense. But some experts diverge on what this latest corporate pairing could mean for Anthem’s possible pursuit of struggling Magellan Health, Inc. and its behavioral health, Medicaid managed care and PBM assets (HPW 3/11/19, p. 1), as was rumored in news publications earlier this year.

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