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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about how payers impact SDOH, states’ expansion of Medicaid benefits, social isolation and the elderly, government IT priorities, and projected Medicaid spending in 2020.

1. In pursuit of value: How payers can leverage social determinants of health data to improve outcomes  

In this Mathematica blog, the authors describe how public and private payers can, and should, have an impact on addressing social determinants of health. Also discussed are barriers to SDOH, such as unavailable or inconsistent data, data interoperability issues, and limited resources. 

2. State Medicaid programs enhance SUD benefits, lower cost-sharing 

A recent survey found that 28 states were planning to add to their Medicaid benefits in 2020. Health Payer Intelligence reports this is the largest number of states planning enhancements in the past decade, with states focusing on enhancing substance abuse disorder (SUD) benefits, lowering cost-sharing, and decreasing prescription drug costs. 

3. Combating isolation: Having companions can help aging population to improve their quality of life  

As the population ages, the need for companions is rising. An Austin Daily Herald study found more than 70% of individuals who reach the age of 65 will need help caring for themselves at some point in their lives. Approximately 1/3 of seniors report feeling socially isolated. Social interaction is vital as more seniors decide to age in place.

4. Suzette Kent outlines 2020 IT security priorities 

In a keynote presentation yesterday, Suzette Kent, federal CIO, reiterated the government’s IT security priorities for 2020. As reported by FedScoop, these include sharing information across agencies, improving identity management and cybersecurity literacy, talent building, and implementing automated continuous monitoring. 

5. Medicaid spend grows 2.9% in FY 2019, Medicaid enrollment flat 

According to Health Payer Intelligence, Medicaid spending increased 2.9% in the 2019 fiscal year, and expected to trend higher in 2020 due to rising prescription drug costs, provider rates, and an aging population. Only 11 states saw an increase in Medicaid enrollment in FY 2019, but more than 30 are anticipating one in 2020.