Delaware ranks 3rd highest per capita in health-care spending, with per capita health-care costs more than 27 percent above the U.S. average, behind only Alaska and Massachusetts. In response, in February 2018, Governor John Carney (D) signed an executive order to form an advisory group to set a benchmark that would help slow the state’s rising health care costs. The executive order comes five months after the passage of HJR 7 that gave DHSS authority to establish a benchmark that would link the growth rate of health-care spending to the state’s rate of economic growth.
In the current legislative session, Delaware has also introduced and passed legislation regulating health insurers’ ability to recover overpayments from health providers.
Delaware’s current regular legislative session runs from 1/9/2018 – 7/1/2018.
Recent Legislative Developments
|2017-2018||HB 172||This Bill limits a health insurer’s right to overpayment recovery to two years from the date of the original payment. The time limit does not apply where there is fraud or other intentional misconduct, when overpayment recovery is initiated by a self-insured plan, or where required by a federal or state plan. The bill also requires 30 days’ notice to healthcare providers regarding an attempt to recover overpayment as well as requiring insurers to have policies and procedures allowing challenge to the alleged overpayment. This bill affects all lines of health insurance including both individual and group policies.||Passed – Signed by Governor- 3/16/18.|
|2017-2018||SB 148||This bill restores the “Delaware Prescription Drug Payment Assistance Program” which provides payment assistant or prescription drugs and certain Medicare Part D costs to low-income senior and disabled citizens who are ineligible for, or do not have, prescription drug benefits through federal, state, or private sources. Payment assistance would be up to $3,000 per benefit year.||Active – Assigned to Health, Children & Social Services Committee in Senate 1/10/18.|
|HCR 49||This resolution establishes the Medicaid Cost Efficiency Task Force to study and make findings regarding Delaware’s Medicaid program.||Active – Assigned to Health and Human Development Committee in House 6/29/17.|
|HJR 7||This bill confers the Department of Health and Social Services the necessary powers and authority to establish and plan for the monitoring and implementation of an annual health care benchmark.||Passed – Signed by Governor 9/7/17.|
- None identified
We compile state statutes relate to healthcare price and competition, including healthcare transparency, markets, and costs. For a complete listing of all health related statutes visit the State Health Practice Database for Research.
Transparency in Healthcare
- Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 2001-2009 establishes a state organized health information database based on hospital and nursing home billing data for health care purchasers, health care insurers, health care providers and the general public to review. The database includes charge levels, age-specific utilization patterns, morbidity patterns, patient origin and trends in health care charges.
- Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 9901-9903 establishes the Delaware Health Care Commission as an independent state body that is charged with advising the Governor and General Assembly on healthcare policy. Its role is to “analyze all aspects of the health-care landscape, including, but not limited to, population and health outcomes, service delivery infrastructure, quality, costs, accessibility, utilization, insurance coverage and financing,” and to “[m]onitor cost trends in order to recommend methods to reduce and control health-care costs for public programs and in conjunction with the private sector.”
- Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 2501-2534 requires that health insurers must file and obtain prior approval from the state department of insurance to implement premium rates, which are the costs of insurance broken down to a per-unit cost. Rates shall not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.
- Code Ann. tit 16 §§ 2301-2318, the “Unfair Trade Practices Act,” prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance, including unreasonable restraints of trade and monopolization.
- Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 9301-9312 requires a health care facility must obtain a “Certificate of Public Review” (analogous to a Certificate of Need) prior the acquisition of major medical equipment or the construction or expansion of a facility. In the interest of controlling healthcare costs, the review is based on whether there is a public need for the proposed project, whether there are less costly alternatives to the proposed action, and on how the action would impact the cost and quality of healthcare.
FY 2018 BUDGET
Delaware’s Fiscal Year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 the following year. Delaware enacted its FY 2018 Budget during a special legislative session. To view Delaware’s FY 2018 Budget, click here.
- Luke’s Health Care Sys. v. FTC, No. 14-35173 (9th Cir. March 7, 2014): Delaware joined 15 other states in filing amicus brief, explaining that the acceleration of health care costs due to the growth of large health care provider systems has become a matter of grave concern for the States.