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From Radar on Drug Benefits - Arkansas’s House and Senate approved a proposal to regulate pharmacy benefit managers and require PBMs to be licensed by the state’s Dept. of Insurance. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is expected to sign the bill, according to news reports. The debate was spurred by changes that CVS Health Corp.’s Caremark unit made in January to drug reimbursement rates paid to independent pharmacists. The bill would allow state regulators to supervise PBMs’ networks to ensure that they provide convenient patient access to pharmacies and a fair and sustainable reimbursement rate for pharmacist services. Read more

From Health Plan Weekly - A coalition of 17 Democratic state attorneys general, led by the AGs in New York and Massachusetts, expressed their concerns about the Dept. of Labor’s draft rule to expand the use of so-called Association Health Plans (AHPs) in a 22-page comment. Read more

From Health Plan Weekly - Iowa’s state lawmakers recently advanced a bill that would allow the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) to offer non-ACA-compliant health coverage administered by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. “It’s one more state trying to provide options other than an ACA compliant plan to their constituents,” says attorney Christopher Condeluci, a former Republican staffer for the Senate Finance Committee during the ACA’s drafting. Read more

From Radar on Medicare Advantage - Since last year, L.A. Care Health Plan has partnered with the California Long-Term Care Education Center (CLTCEC) to provide training and education to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers of its Cal MediConnect dual-eligible enrollees. “We recognize that quality health care doesn’t happen only in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. It happens at home, too, and we want to support that care as well,” L.A. Care CEO John Baackes told AIS… Read more

From Radar on Drug Benefits - Industry experts question whether UnitedHealth Group’s strategy to upfront rebates directly to consumers would have a significant effect. UnitedHealth Group, which operates its own PBM, OptumRx, announced it would launch a program applying savings from manufacturers’ rebates upfront, at the time of sale, to lower out-of-pocket costs for eligible plan enrollees. Read more

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