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NY taking steps to curb rising medical costs

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By MICHAEL VIRTANEN

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - With medical expenses among the nation's highest, New York has begun cutting Medicaid costs by replacing pay-as-you go services with managed care for prescription drugs. It also is planning to extend that approach to other medical services.

The goal is pushing treatment "upstream" into lower-cost primary care and prevention.

Nearly half the $53.5 billion Medicaid budget for 5.3 million low-income New Yorkers goes for fewer than 700,000 chronically ill, elderly patients.

The Kaiser Foundation says the state's annual health care spending averaged $8,341 per person in 2009, fifth highest among states, following two decades of 5.9% annual increases.

Experts say chronic illness and end-of-life interventions remain major cost drivers also affecting privately insured New Yorkers, including 1.1 million expected to enroll under a new federal mandate.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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