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State Mental Healthcare Access Legislation, Insurer Crackdown on Weight Loss Drugs & More

May 19, 2023 (1 min read)

State Lawmakers Seeking to Broaden Access to Mental Healthcare

With over 1 in 5 U.S. adults and youths (13-18 years old) experiencing mental illness and cost keeping many of them from being able to access mental healthcare, state lawmakers are trying various approaches to make that care more affordable. Last year Georgia (HB 1013) and Massachusetts (SB 3097) stepped up oversight of federal mental health parity requirements. Louisiana (HB 278), Massachusetts (SB 3097), New Jersey (AB 2008) and Wyoming (HB 140) enacted measures in 2022 or 2023 requiring health insurers to cover more behavioral health services. And Georgia (SB 566), Washington (HB 1688), California (AB 988) and Connecticut (HB 5001) enacted legislation last year applying surprise billing protections to mental health emergencies. (NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES)

Insurers, Pharmacies Responding to Weight Loss Drug Craze

With demand for weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy surging, insurers are refusing to cover the medications, which can retail for $900 or more per month. As a result, some pharmacies have started offering unauthorized generic versions of Ozempic. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEW YORK TIMES)

Walgreens Reaches $230M Opioid Settlement with San Francisco

Walgreens agreed to pay San Francisco $230 million to settle the city’s claim against it for contributing to the city’s opioid epidemic. Last year a federal judge found the pharmacy chain liable for failing to do proper screenings. Between 2006 and 2014, there were 163,645,704 opioid pills distributed in San Francisco County, enough to provide each resident 22 pills per year. (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Aetna Targeted in Class Action Suit over Data Breach

A proposed class action suit has been filed against Aetna, alleging the insurer’s inadequate security measures enabled a Russian ransomware group to obtain access to sensitive personal data in an attack earlier this year. That attack targeted multiple healthcare providers and more than 3 million of their customers. (LAW360®)

—Compiled by SNCJ Managing Editor KOREY CLARK

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