Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Healthcare Policy

Senate Hearing Opens Policy Discussion on Prescription Drug Costs

by Thomas Beaton

At a Senate HELP Committee hearing this month, policy experts and advocacy groups suggested several strategies that could lower prescription drug costs, including removing Medicare Part D cost-sharing, increasing federal oversight of the pharmaceutical...

Individual Mandate Repeal Would Lead to Payer Financial Losses

by Thomas Beaton

A repeal of the individual mandate, as included in the current GOP Senate tax reform plan, would result in financial losses for payers that could not be offset by cost-sharing reduction payments, the Academy of American Actuaries says.  ...

Prescription Drug Spending Cuts Require Payer Policy Changes

by Thomas Beaton

The US’s current prescription drug policies require updates that cut prescription drug spending while increasing competition in the market, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) found. A...

Commercial Payer, Medicare, Medicaid Fraud Cases Top $49.1M

by Thomas Beaton

The Department of Justice (DoJ) recently detailed three cases of healthcare fraud targeting private payers, Medicaid, and Medicare that totaled $49.1 million. The schemes involved common fraud tactics such as illegal kickback operations and the...

Senate Passes Tax Bill, Individual Mandate Repeal in 51-49 Vote

by Thomas Beaton

The US Senate voted 51-49 to reform national tax policy and simultaneously repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, major news outlets reported at the end of last week. GOP senators only lost one Republican vote and were able...

CMS Updates Payer Guidelines for 2019 Qualified Health Plans

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued a draft letter that outlines guidelines, dates, reporting, and regulatory requirements for payers that want to sell qualified health plans (QHPs) in 2019. The Annual Letter to Insurers includes new information, and updates from...

Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Updates for 2019

by Thomas Beaton

The Medicare Advantage (MA) Value-Based Insurance Design Model (VBID) for 2019 will extend into fifteen new states, allow Chronic Condition Special Needs plans to participate in the model, and allow all participating plans to specialize benefits,...

Medicare Advantage, Part D Updates to Shift Control to Health Plans

by Thomas Beaton

CMS is proposing regulatory changes that would offer health plans additional flexibility to design and implement Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Medicare benefits.   The rule would reduce administrative burdens by allowing plans to communicate...

ACA Individual Mandate Repeal Could Cut Insured Number By 13M

by Thomas Beaton

As a potential repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate faces the US Senate, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Tax Committee (JTC) found that a repeal would cut the number of insured individuals by four million in 2019. In an...

Top 5 Most Common Healthcare Provider Fraud Activities

by Thomas Beaton

Healthcare provider fraud is extraordinarily common and can be conducted at a shockingly large scale.  The largest healthcare provider fraud takedown in US history was announced just recently, resulting charges against 400 defendants in...

Providers Caught in Medicare Fraud Schemes Topping $200M

by Thomas Beaton

Law enforcement officials continue to crack down on Medicare fraud schemes that siphon millions of dollars from the programs, as individuals submit fraudulent claims or overcharge for unnecessary healthcare utilization. Federal law enforcement...

Maine Referendum Expands Medicaid Despite Governor Opposition

by Thomas Beaton

The state of Maine has become the first state to expand Medicaid through a ballot vote that overrides Governor Paul R. LePage’s (ME-R) previous decisions to block the expansion, according to national news outlets. On Tuesday, Maine residents...

More Choices for Federal Health Plans Doesn’t Spread Market Share

by Thomas Beaton

The federal health plan market contracted under the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has remained heavily concentrated over the last decade, despite OPM’s efforts to improve health plan choice for employees enrolled in the Federal Employees...

CMS Adjusts Medicaid 1115 State Innovation Waiver Processes

by Thomas Beaton

CMS is attempting to streamline the approval process for Medicaid 1115 state innovation waivers by implementing new policies that prioritize transparency, the agency announced in a bulletin. The agency has adjusted 1115 waiver policies in an...

Why the Generic Drug Market is a Growing Payer Opportunity

by Thomas Beaton

As payers try to ease the rising costs of prescription drugs, which account for 10 percent of national healthcare spending, they may wish to turn to the generic drug market to help curb unnecessary spending and improve profitability.   Generics...

Improving Price Transparency around Generic Drugs for Payers

by Thomas Beaton

Increasing pricing transparency around generic drugs could offer significant advantages to payers, including lower prices and more favorable reimbursement negotiations, according to a report from USC Brookings. Better understanding of contracting...

Reinsurance Changes Payers Can Expect Under the ACA in 2018

by Thomas Beaton

ACA federal reinsurance policies have undergone a transformation since their introduction from four years ago. Payers should continue to prepare for larger changes of federal and state ACA reinsurance in 2018. Reinsurance programs have gone from...

ACA Open Enrollment Rate Expected to Drop Up to 13% in 2018

by Thomas Beaton

Analysts expect up to a 13 percent drop in open enrollment on the ACA marketplace exchange in 2018,  according to Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P Global). Only 10.1 million to 11.4 million individuals are expected in enroll in...

Providers Seeing Even Mix of Public, Commercially Insured Patients

by Thomas Beaton

Providers are seeing a fairly even mix of Medicare, Medicaid, and commercially insured patients with fewer uninsured individuals than before the ACA, according to the AMA’s Physician Practice Benchmark Survey. In 2016, forty-three percent...

Before CSR Cuts, ACA Health Plans Expected Stable Premiums

by Thomas Beaton

Had cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) under the Affordable Care Act remained in place payers would only expect modest premium increases with some continued profitability, a USC Brookings report found. However, the uncertainty resulting...

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