The Activate Health team is back with another roundup of the most impactful healthcare news headlines to save you time.

Regulatory news from quarter two includes the end of the COVID-19 national emergency and the start of Medicaid redeterminations. And as 2023 healthcare costs continue to rise, numerous researchers point out the impacts of more healthcare spending for people with employer-sponsored coverage, plus increases in ACA premiums.



Biden signs measure ending COVID-19 national emergency 
President Joe Biden signed a congressional resolution ending the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic just weeks before it was set to expire. The separate public health emergency will remain in effect until May 11.

Medicaid redeterminations restarted April 1. Here’s what we know.
Starting April 1, an estimated 15 million people will lose Medicaid coverage as states begin disenrolling ineligible beneficiaries—the biggest health coverage transition since the first ACA open enrollment period. This comes after Medicaid enrollment skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Report: Hospitals, payers making strides on price transparency compliance
Since the end of quarter one, nearly 84% of hospitals (5,400 out of an estimated 6,400) have posted their pricing data to be more transparent. This information includes negotiated rates, cash rates and surgery rates.

CMS walks back limits on non-standardized plan options, finalizes marketplace standards
The finalized rule, requiring issuers on both state and federal marketplaces to offer standardized health plans at every metal level (except the non-expanded bronze level), aims to boost provider availability and revise network adequacy for insurers operating on the ACA marketplace.

No Surprises Act largely successful in protecting consumers though gaps remain, stakeholders say
One year into implementation, regulators and stakeholders representing consumers reported a decline in consumer complaints. And one state’s insurance regulator shared that only two No Surprises Act-related claims were made out of the 1,800 received in 2022.



Benchmark premiums for ACA plans up 3.4% for 2023
Since 2019, premiums on the ACA marketplace have dropped an average of 2.2% each year. This year, plan costs are up 3.4%, likely attributed to the “strong economy and rising inflation,” according to a study from the Urban Institute.

Healthcare spending, utilization resumed growth in 2021
Despite the dramatic decline in healthcare spending in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the Health Care Cost Institute reported a 15% increase in 2023 in spending for people with employer-sponsored coverage. The most prominent growth was for immunological therapies and drugs.



Uber Health rolls out same-day prescription delivery with plans to ship healthy food, OTC meds
Uber Health enables clinicians to ship medications to patients and mange prescription deliveries from any pharmacy in their service area through the same platform they use to coordinate rides for patients. This is Uber’s first step into the healthcare space, as the company plans to soon start delivering over-the-counter medicine to Medicare Advantage and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Pharmacists stump for more active role in primary care
Pharmacists at the HIMSS conference in Chicago argued that state and federal regulators need to do more to allow pharmacists to practice at the top of their licenses. This would help nearly half of U.S. counties that have just one primary care doctor for every 1,5000 people—an ongoing issue in the healthcare landscape.



Kaiser Permanente acquiring Geisinger Health to launch Risant Health
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, will make Geisinger Health the first to join Risant Health, a new nonprofit designed to expand the adoption of value-based care. Risant Health plans to acquire another four or five health systems to get to a total revenue of $30-35 billion over the next five years.