Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Healthcare Policy

CMS Proposes to Deregulate, Fast Track Medicaid Managed Care Programs

November 9, 2018 - CMS has proposed a new rule to reduce regulation around Medicaid managed care programs and allow states to contract with private payers to deliver managed care at faster rates. CMS developed the rule in coordination with the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) to address common administrative burdens for managed care programs. The agency explained that reducing...


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CMS to Audit Premium Subsidy Eligibility for Individual Health Plans

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that would audit premium subsidy eligibility for individual health plan beneficiaries and monitor premium assistance programs through the federal insurance exchanges. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care...

US District Court Denies Appeal to Resolve Risk Corridor Payments

by Thomas Beaton

Federal judges for the US Federal District Court of Appeals denied a request to reopen a case that could provide over $12 billion in risk corridor payments to payers. Moda Health Plan, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, and Land of...

CMS Redesigns Medicare Home Health Payment with Case Mix Model

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that would recalculate Medicare home health payments using a case mix payment model.   In 2020, the agency plans to implement the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) to compensate home health agencies...

CMS Extends Medicare Advantage Audit Program in 2019 Rule

by Thomas Beaton

CMS will be continuing its Medicare Advantage audit program, the agency indicated in a proposed 2019 rule, in an effort to ensure program integrity and reduce inappropriate payments to insurers. The changes are part of CMS’s new...

CMS Grants NC 1115 Medicaid Waiver to Implement Managed Care System

by Thomas Beaton

North Carolina has received a 1115 waiver from CMS allowing the state to implement a Medicaid managed care system administered through private payers. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can now recruit...

New Drug Pricing Model Could Save Medicare Part B $17.2 Billion

by Thomas Beaton

A new drug pricing model with an international component could save Medicare Part B approximately $17.2 billion over five years, CMS says.   The International Pricing Index (IPI) will test if using drug price benchmarks other...

Proposed Rule Alters HRAs to Allow Direct Reimbursement to Employees

by Thomas Beaton

The Departments of Labor, Treasury, and HHS have proposed a new rule that would allow employers to directly reimburse employees’ care costs through health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) as an alternative to traditional insurance...

CMS Broadens ACA Waiver Scope for State Insurance Programs

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued federal guidance intended to expand the scope and availability of state-level waiver programs.   State governments can now apply for State Relief and Empowerment Waivers that may result in weaker consumer protections...

IL Payers File Pharma Lawsuit Over Opioid Prescription Costs, Safety

by Thomas Beaton

A coalition of Illinois payers has sued prominent pharmaceutical companies in a lawsuit that argues the companies are responsible for a spike in opioid prescription costs and patient safety risks. The Intergovernmental Risk Management...

$36.9M in Medicare Fraud Leads to Federal Convictions, Sentencing

by Thomas Beaton

New high-profile Medicare fraud cases have led to convictions and lengthy prison sentences for providers that attempted to defraud Medicare of $36.9 million. Federal agencies including HHS, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DoJ), and...

CMS Proposes Drug Price Transparency in Television Ads

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that would enhance drug price transparency by requiring drug manufacturers to publish wholesale prices of Medicaid and Medicare prescription drugs during television ads. The proposed rule would require...

CMS: ACA Premiums to Decline in 2019 for Silver Plan Consumers

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced it expects the average ACA health plan premium to drop by 1.5 percent for healthy consumers that purchase low-cost silver tier plans. The agency stated that it is the first time since 2014 that premiums in any part of...

AMA, Industry Orgs Object to Short-Term Health Plan Expansion

by Thomas Beaton

The American Medical Association and other industry trade groups have filed amici curiae in support of a lawsuit contesting the legality of short-term health plans. The Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) contends that the...

Montana Reinsurance Program May Cut Premiums Up to 20%

by Thomas Beaton

Montana is moving ahead with the idea of creating a reinsurance program for the state’s health insurance market.  The program may reduce premiums between 10 and 20 percent, said Governor Steve Bullock and Department of...

Senators Propose Limits on Surprise Healthcare Billing

by Thomas Beaton

A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation that aims to end surprise healthcare billing, a practice which can lead to extremely high out-of-pocket costs for consumers. The Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act...

FDA Recruits Payers to Submit Quality Feedback on Medical Devices

by Thomas Beaton

FDA has launched a new quality assurance program that leverages feedback from commercial payers about medical device coverage requirements in order to expedite approvals. The Private Payor Program (PPP) is a voluntary program for medical...

MedPAC to Explore if Hospital Consolidation Impacts Medicare Costs

by Thomas Beaton

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has asked the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to investigate whether or not hospital consolidation increases Medicare spending. In a letter to MedPAC, Representatives Greg Walden...

CA Plans Medical Loss Ratio Guidelines for Dental Insurance Plans

by Thomas Beaton

Consumers of dental plans may benefit from more transparency around the medical loss ratio (MLR) of dental insurance options, asserts the California Dental Association (CDA). In a recent research paper published in Health Affairs, the CDA...

Handful of States Propose Lower ACA Premium Rates for 2019

by Thomas Beaton

Several states have announced lower ACA premium rates for 2019, bucking a national trend brought on by unstable markets and regulatory changes.   While early proposals from a number of states, including Virginia, Maryland, and...

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