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With an improving fiscal climate, many states are increasing benefits for Medicaid recipients and paying their providers more.
The trend is continuing into fiscal year 2015 for those who rely on Medicaid, the state and federal health insurance program for the poor, according to a survey of 50 state Medicaid programs released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Association of Medicaid Directors. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
The report found that 22 states were expanding Medicaid benefits compared to just two states restricting them in fiscal 2015, which for most states started July 1, 2014. That’s the fewest states cutting or restricting benefits in at least 9 years. The most commonly added benefits were dental coverage, along with mental health and substance abuse services.
However, virtually every state indicated concern about high-cost specialty drugs, especially $1,000-a-pill Sovaldi, approved last year to treat hepatitis C. Officials in 22 states said that new prior authorization rules were in place or under development to restrict use of the drug and New Jersey said it was exploring protocols to do that.
Meanwhile, 14 states were increasing Medicaid fees to specialists in fiscal 2015, compared to three states lowering them. More states were also increasing fees to nursing homes and managed care...