Trending News Today: Manufacturers Responsible for Drug Costs of Medicare Patients in the 'Donut Hole'

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Despite changes to the 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period, the marketplace has remained relatively stable, according to Kaiser Health News. The National Academy for State Health Policy found that 11.8 million Americans enrolled in 2018 health plans, which was down nearly 4% from 2017. Enrollment in state run exchanges increased 0.2% in 2018, while federally-run exchanges saw a 3.5% dip in enrollment compared with 2017 sign-up figures, according to the article. State officials said that the flexibility of running their own exchanges led to these gains, Kaiser reported.

The recently introduced Senate spending bill includes $6 billion allocated for treating opioid use disorder and mental health disorders, according to The Hill. The bipartisan bill introduced yesterday may ease concerns of advocates who have called for additional funding to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the article. President Donald Trump previously declared the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency, but this did not provide additional funding for new efforts.

The proposed Senate budget deal also included a provision that would change the Medicare “donut hole” coverage gap, a move that surprised manufacturers and beneficiaries, STAT reported. Under the coverage gap, beneficiaries are responsible for a majority of the cost of their prescription drugs. The mandate requires that manufacturers pick up the cost of Part D prescriptions for beneficiaries in the "donut hole starting in 2019, moving this requirement up from 2020, according to the article.

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