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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the variation in healthcare costs, how states are addressing healthcare affordability, reinsurance programs for 2020, and the impact of proposed changes to SNAP eligibility. 

1. Where in the US do medical procedures cost the most?   

Healthcare costs, while rising overall, vary widely from state to state. The Senior List breaks down the average costs per state for overall healthcare, professional services, common surgical procedures, and more. Average spending ranges from approximately $3,600 in Hawaii to $7,500 in Alaska.

2. DHS wants AI to improve the contract performance assessment reporting system

The Department of Homeland Security has closed its request for proofs or prototypes showing how artificial intelligence (AI) can help with conducting past performance evaluations, according to NextGov. Up to five awards of up to $50,000 each are expected to be announced late September. Following the announcement, winners have four months to provide a successful demonstration.

3. Price transparency a key way states control healthcare costs

States are making moves to help residents better afford and compare healthcare costs. RevCycle Intelligence reports that 16 states have mandatory all-payer claims databases, and eight of those states make price and quality information directly available to the public. In addition, more than half of states have passed legislation dealing with surprise medical billing. 

4. CMS approves reinsurance waivers in DE, RI 

Delaware and Rhode Island become the final two states to receive a Section 1332 waiver authorizing a reinsurance program for 2020. According to Health Affairs, they join 10 other states who will be operating reinsurance programs, which vary in size (ranging from $14.7 million in Rhode Island to $462 million in Maryland), funding mechanisms, and design.

5. Proposed changes to SNAP program could have ripple effect across Ohio 

A proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could decrease revenues for the grocery industry and increase use of food banks, WCPO Cincinnati reports. Ohio is one of many states to place no limits on assets for residents who meet the federal poverty guidelines, which under the new proposal would not be allowed. Opponents argue the change would incentivize residents not to save money, while proponents say that the exemption has been overused.