16.3 Million Individuals Gain Coverage Since Affordable Care Act

The uninsured rate reached a new low of 9% in the first six months of 2015, with 16.3 million previously uninsured people enrolling in health insurance since 2013, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report also showed a corresponding increase in private coverage, including coverage purchased through the Marketplace, from 64.2% in 2013 to 70.6% in 2015. The number of children with private coverage also increased, from 52.6% in 2013 to 56% in 2015, reversing a 14-year decline. Hispanic adults saw the greatest improvements in uninsured rates, decreasing from 40.6% in 2013 to 27.2% in 2015.

Supreme Court Will Hear Contraception Mandate Case

The Supreme Court announced that it will hear Zubik v. Burwell, which asks the Court to determine if religiously affiliated employers are unjustly burdened by the accommodation process for the ACA's requirement to cover contraceptive care. That process, developed by the Obama Administration as a result of the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, requires health insurance issuers and third party administrators to provide contraceptive services to employers’ health plan enrollees without charging the employer or enrollee for the service. All circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals, except for the 8th Circuit, ruled that the accommodation strikes the appropriate balance between access to care and protecting religious beliefs.

CMS Urges State Medicaid Directors and Drug Manufacturers to Keep Hepatitis C Drugs Accessible and Affordable

CMS issued a Medicaid Drug Rebate Program Notice to State Medicaid directors requesting that states examine their fee-for-service and managed care drug benefits to ensure that coverage limitations for direct-acting antiviral drugs used to treat hepatitis C are not unreasonably restrictive. The notice also reiterates that states should negotiate supplemental rebates and other pricing arrangements with drug manufacturers. CMS additionally sent letters to drug manufacturers requesting information regarding any existing value-based purchasing arrangements available to states.