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More insurers change how they pay medical providers

More insurers change how they pay medical providers

Commercial insurers are moving rapidly from the old system of paying health providers for every test or procedure they do toward payments based on the value rather than volume of services, according to a report by Catalyst for Payment Reform, a business coalition focused on health care costs. [More]
NRA announces exclusive member discounts from UnitedHealthcare on manual medical rates

NRA announces exclusive member discounts from UnitedHealthcare on manual medical rates

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced exclusive member discounts from UnitedHealthcare on manual medical rates for fully insured business groups with 51 or more eligible employees. [More]
During first debate, Iowa Senate candidates Ernst and Braley clash on the health law

During first debate, Iowa Senate candidates Ernst and Braley clash on the health law

News outlets offer updates on how the Affordable Care Act is playing in Iowa, Arkansas and Minnesota races. [More]
State highlights: Calif. health insurers and contraception coverage; Alaska sues Xerox over Medicaid payment systems

State highlights: Calif. health insurers and contraception coverage; Alaska sues Xerox over Medicaid payment systems

Health insurance policies in California will have to cover all federally approved contraceptives for women by 2016 without charging co-payments under legislation signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, countering trends in other states and the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill, SB1053 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, expands state laws that required coverage for most birth-control drugs and devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new law mandates coverage for all FDA-approved contraception, prohibits co-payments and includes managed-care Medi-Cal plans, which are not expressly covered by current laws (Egelko, 9/27). [More]

Report: Finding care is difficult for some new Medicaid enrollees

State standards for access to care for Medicaid recipients vary widely and are rarely enforced, says a soon-to-be released report by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general. Meanwhile, Tennessee's governor pursues Medicaid expansion talks, and confusion continues in Pennsylvania about what benefits will be available to enrollees in that state's expansion plan. [More]

HealthCare.com launches new health insurance comparison website

HealthCare.com announces the launch of its new health insurance comparison website that gives consumers more choices to research, shop and buy healthcare plans, which could lead to lowering insurance costs for millions of Americans. [More]
Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Viewpoints: Hospitals helped by Medicaid expansion; why GOP candidates back OTC contraceptives

Now the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report showing that ... thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the country will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2014. [More]
Bigger challenges forecast for health law's second enrollment drive

Bigger challenges forecast for health law's second enrollment drive

Enrolling new customers will be more complicated this time around because potential enrollees may be harder to reach, reports The Wall Street Journal. [More]
State highlights: Calif. gov. vetoes bill limiting Medi-Cal estate recovery, signs birth control, inmate bills

State highlights: Calif. gov. vetoes bill limiting Medi-Cal estate recovery, signs birth control, inmate bills

In a blow to tens of thousands of low-income Californians newly enrolled in Medi-Cal under a provision in the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have limited the state's seizure of assets from their estates after they die -- a legal wrinkle that most only discovered after they had signed up for the health care plan for the poor (Seipel, 9/25). [More]

Chicago retirees ask for health care cost-sharing reprieve

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to save the city $108.7 million per year by making retired city workers pay up to 79 percent more for coverage. Elsewhere, Louisiana's employee health program faces dwindling funds amid a bid by Gov. Bobby Jindal to make big changes. [More]
State highlights: N.C. lawmakers still talking about Medicaid revamp; changes to La. health plan for state workers stir controversy

State highlights: N.C. lawmakers still talking about Medicaid revamp; changes to La. health plan for state workers stir controversy

Legislators who couldn't agree this year on how to overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid program plan to spend more time talking about the issue before the General Assembly reconvenes early next year. A legislative oversight panel subcommittee charged with examining Medicaid reform and reorganization scheduled its first meeting Wednesday. Another oversight panel also examining Medicaid governance held its first meeting this month. The House and Senate approved differing versions of legislation to change how Medicaid pays for medical expenses by shifting risk from the state to either medical provider networks or private managed-care companies (9/24). [More]

White House 'reassessing' 2015 enrollment goals; major coverage gains made among Latinos

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Wednesday that the health law's insurance programs have reduced the nation's overall uninsured population by 26 percent. [More]
Study finds that only half of U.S. adults screened for diabetes in last three years

Study finds that only half of U.S. adults screened for diabetes in last three years

A new cross-sectional study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that only half of adults in the U.S. were screened for diabetes within the last three years, less than what is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. [More]
Some small businesses help workers buy individual coverage

Some small businesses help workers buy individual coverage

The Associated Press examines health insurance costs from different perspectives -- that of a small businessman who provides workers with additional compensation to purchase their own coverage, rather than offering a company health plan, and that of a middle-class family facing mounting financial pressure which includes health premiums. [More]
Study: Healthcare.gov costs top $2B

Study: Healthcare.gov costs top $2B

The finding by a Bloomberg Government analysis exceeds the cost estimates provided by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, an administration official says efforts are "continuing, step by step" to improve the health insurance website, but also steers clear of specific pledges. [More]

Administration: Health law brings down hospitals' uncompensated care costs

As part of a report released Wednesday, Obama administration officials cited evidence that hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs as previously uninsured patients gain coverage through the health law. The savings are most significant in states that expanded their Medicaid programs. [More]
Viewpoints: A 'success story' in McAllen, Texas; 'uniquely high prices' in health care

Viewpoints: A 'success story' in McAllen, Texas; 'uniquely high prices' in health care

It may have been the most influential magazine article of the past decade. In June of 2009, the doctor and writer Atul Gawande published a piece in The New Yorker called "The Cost Conundrum," which examined why the small border city of McAllen, Tex., was the most expensive place for health care in the United States. ... Five years later, the situation has changed. Where McAllen once illustrated the problem of American health care, the city is now showing us how the problem can be solved, largely because of the Affordable Care Act that Mr. Obama signed into law in 2010 (Bob Kocher and Farzad Mostashari, 9/23). [More]

Anthem excludes Missouri's BJC Healthcare from network again

The Blue Cross Blue Shield plan won't include the giant health system and its 12 hospitals, including Barnes Jewish and St. Louis Children's Hospital, in its 2015 provider network for exchange enrollees. Meanwhile, 350,000 Medi-Cal applicants in California still wait for coverage and Colorado's insurance rates level off. [More]

CVS Health enters into new clinical affiliations with three academic medical centers

CVS Health announced today it has entered into new clinical affiliations with three leading academic medical centers to enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services for patients. [More]

More insurers to offer health exchange insurance plans

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that the number of insurers participating in the marketplaces this fall will increase 25 percent. [More]