Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Healthcare Payers

Urgent Care Center Utilization Skyrocketed by 1725% in Last Decade

by Thomas Beaton

Healthcare payers saw urgent care center utilization grow by 1725 percent from 2007 to 2016, indicating that urgent care may the one of the fastest-growing choices for receiving healthcare. A white paper from FAIR Health found that...

BCBS of MI Launches Bundled Payments for Hip, Knee Replacements

by Thomas Beaton

BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan has launched a pilot program that will use bundled payments for knee and hip replacements in order to manage costs and improve member outcomes. BCBS data estimates that knee and hip replacements can cost...

Member Engagement is Key for High-Deductible Health Plan Success

by Thomas Beaton

Payers and employers who offer high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to attract low-cost members may need member engagement strategies to generate higher value for these beneficiaries. Member engagement is critical for HDHP success because...

Payers Enter New Value-Based Care Agreements with Providers

by Thomas Beaton

Commercial payers including Aetna, Cigna, and Tufts Health are launching new value-based care agreements with providers to reduce healthcare costs and increase care quality for beneficiaries. Many payers are acting on the need to...

Prior Authorization Issues Contribute to 92% of Care Delays

by Thomas Beaton

Prior authorization issues are associated with 92 percent of care delays and may contribute to patient safety concerns as well as administrative inefficiencies, according to a new survey from AMA. Payers should work to change their prior...

Payment Cuts Drive Medicare Advantage Plans to Contain Costs

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans contained beneficiary costs and remained profitable despite reductions to federal MA payments from 2009 to 2014, according to new research from the Commonwealth Fund. The report found that as Medicare reduced...

Patient, Provider Engagement Drives High Health Plan Performance

by Thomas Beaton

Health plan performance, and how to improve it, is always an issue at the forefront of payers’ minds.  While payers have engaged in several strategies in the past aimed at improving clinical quality, reducing costs, and boosting...

BCBS Launches Institute to Address Social Determinants of Health

by Thomas Beaton

The BlueCross BlueShield Association has created a new subsidiary called the BlueCross BlueShield Institute to help identify and address the social determinants of health (SDOH) for its beneficiaries. BCBS credits the Institute as the...

Payer Input is Key for High Performance Provider Networks

by Thomas Beaton

Payer input is critical for developing high performance networks (HPNs) that are efficient and cost-effective while delivering high quality care, says the Academy of Actuaries in a new report.   HPNs are narrow provider networks...

Cigna, Amazon Alexa Offer Voice Control Beneficiary Education

by Thomas Beaton

Cigna is entering the voice control product space with an Amazon Alexa feature called “Answers by Cigna” that educates beneficiaries about complex health insurance terminology and customizes health benefits...

UnitedHealthcare Finds Value-Based Care Closed 50M Gaps in Care

by Thomas Beaton

Value-based care helped close 50 million gaps in care between 2013 and 2017 while reducing care costs, lowering ED utilization, and increasing provider care quality, according to a new report from UnitedHealthcare (UHC). UHC examined data...

Cigna to Acquire Express Scripts for $67B to Expand Consumer Value

by Thomas Beaton

Update 8/24/2018: Cigna shareholders have overwhelmingly voted to approve the acquisition of Express Scripts.  Approximately 90 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the deal, which is anticipated to close before the end of...

CMS: Payers Must Make Claims Data Available to Beneficiaries

by Thomas Beaton

CMS Administrator Seema Verma recently called on healthcare payers to make claims data available to their beneficiaries. The agency also announced a new initiative called MyHealthEData to give patients control of their healthcare...

UnitedHealthcare Integrates Apple Watch Into Wellness Incentives

by Thomas Beaton

UnitedHealthcare is integrating the Apple Watch into beneficiary wellness incentives, where members can earn the device and financial rewards by participating in a walking program aimed at improving overall member health. The payer will...

BCBS Earned Positive ACA Health Plan Revenues in Uncertain Market

by Thomas Beaton

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (BCBS of NC) earned positive ACA health plan revenues after years of financial losses, citing low medical claims and more available consumers after other payers exited the sale of plans through...

Centene to Acquire Medicaid, Medicare Advantage Provider Group

by Thomas Beaton

Centene signed an agreement to acquire Florida-based Community Medical Holdings Corp (CMG), a community medical group, to expand Centene’s Medicaid, Medicare Advantage (MA), and marketplace health plan businesses. Centene stated in...

Idaho’s Expansion of Association Health Plans Risks ACA Market

by Thomas Beaton

The Academy of Actuaries warned insurance officials and government leaders in Idaho that the decision to expand the sale of association health plans (AHP) will destabilize ACA individual health plan risk pools and reduce essential health...

HCSC Invests $1.5B to Develop Insurance Affordability Solutions

by Thomas Beaton

HCSC is investing $1.5 billion to develop health insurance affordability solutions including employee wellness programs, ways to address social determinants of health, and collaborative care. Dubbed Affordability Cures, the initiative...

Uninsured Adults Apprehensive About Health Insurance Costs

by Thomas Beaton

About 71 percent of uninsured adults aware of open enrollment periods did not enroll in state or federally-based health plans because of apprehension to rising health insurance costs and waning confidence that the ACA will remain in...

Payer Meal Program Addresses Social Determinants of Health

by Thomas Beaton

Philadelphia-based Health Partners Plan (HPP) reduced blood glucose levels of diabetics and care utilization of other chronically ill members by implementing a healthy meal program to address food-related social determinants of health...

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