To help ease the stress of the new year, the Activate Health team has pulled together a list of need-to-know stories for busy healthcare marketing and PR professionals.

The start of 2023 brings new initiatives and policies, including a $35 cap on the monthly cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries and a $1.7 trillion spending package. Enrollment in both Medicare Advantage and ACA plans are hitting all-time highs. And on the COVID-19 front, the country’s national public health emergencies are set to end May 11.



CMS reports record ACA enrollment for 2023 plan year 
A historic 16.3 million people have signed up for ACA Marketplace coverage, a 13% increase from 2022.

Medicare Advantage enrollment surpasses 30 million
While insurers are thrilled that nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs, lawmakers have pressed for reform due to approval delays for patients’ treatments.



Biden signs $1.7T omnibus, paving way for multiple health policy priorities 
The massive spending package tackles several key healthcare policy issues including Medicaid redeterminations, public health funding and Medicare telehealth flexibility. The package will fund the government through September 2023.

CMS releases three initiatives to grow Medicare ACO participation
To achieve its goal of having 100% of traditional Medicare beneficiaries in an accountable care organization (ACO) by 2030, CMS announced three initiatives, at least one of which more than 700,000 healthcare providers and organizations will take part in.

How FTC’s noncompete agreements rule could impact healthcare 
The FTC is proposing a rule that would do away with noncompete agreements – affecting about 45% of primary care physicians employed by group practices who are bound by these contracts.



Healthcare sector sees largest increase in cyberattacks in 2022
Cyberattacks have increased 38% globally in 2022 compared to 2021, with the healthcare industry seeing the largest increase. In the U.S., there were 1,463 healthcare organization-related cyberattacks weekly, a 74% increase.



Merger and acquisition revenues for health systems hit $45B in 2022
Of the seven merger and acquisitions that took place in the fourth quarter of 2022, four qualified as a “megamerger,” according to Kaufman Hall, where the smaller party has an annual revenue over $1 billion. This brought the year to a total of 53 transactions.



HHS will begin negotiating 10 Part D drug prices this year 
In January, HHS began negotiating with drug companies to lower the price of Part D drugs as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act. And COVID-19 vaccines are moving towards commercialization due to exhausted federal funding.

HHS projects savings on insulin due to Inflation Reduction Act
Beginning January 1, the cost of one month’s supply of insulin was capped at $35 for Medicare Part D; starting July 1, the same will take place for Medicare Part B. If this Inflation Reduction Act provision had been in effect in 2020, 1.5 million seniors would have saved an average of $500 on insulin for the year.



White House plans to end COVID emergency declarations on May 11
The White House is ending the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11. While this aligns with the Biden Administration’s previous commitment to giving a 60-day notice prior to termination, it will also require states to redetermine Medicaid eligibility.

NIH announces launch of COVID-19 telehealth program
The NIH is launching a pilot telehealth program that will allow people to receive free COVID-19 testing, consultation and treatment from their homes. The NIH aims to offer the program to up to 100,000 people in the U.S. over the year.