Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Healthcare Reform

MedPAC to Explore if Hospital Consolidation Impacts Medicare Costs

September 11, 2018 - 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 (R-OR), Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), and Gregg Harper (R-MS) noted that hospital consolidation rates are on the rise. The Government Accountability...


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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...

Payers Sue to Collect 2017 Cost Sharing Reduction Payments

by Thomas Beaton

Payer organizations are exercising their right to use the court system to collect cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that were not provided in the last quarter of 2017. A number of lawsuits are challenging the government’s...

CMS Adds Flexibility to Medicare Part D Formulary Strategies

by Thomas Beaton

CMS is encouraging Medicare Part D health plans to adopt new formulary design strategies that are geared towards lowering drug prices and improving consumer choice. A memo from the agency highlights a major upcoming change to the...

ACA Health Insurance Tax to Cost $16B, Lead to Higher Premiums

by Thomas Beaton

The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax (HIT) is expected to levy $16 billion in fees for health insurers by 2020, leading payers to increase premiums by an anticipated 2.2 percent, according to a Oliver-Wyman report...

Next Generation ACO Model Saved Medicare $62M in 2016

by Thomas Beaton

Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) saved the Medicare program $62 million during their first year of operation in 2016, encouraging CMS to expand downside risk models across Medicare. Next Generation ACOs accept the...

GOP Senators Propose to Reinforce Pre-Existing Condition Protections

by Thomas Beaton

Half a dozen Republican Senators have introduced a bill that would ensure the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition protections would remain a federal law despite upcoming legal challenges. The Ensuring Coverage for Patients...

CMS Provides $8.4M to Stabilize State Insurance Markets

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has awarded $8.4 million to 31 states in an effort to stabilize state insurance markets and increase the number of affordable health plan options for beneficiaries. Recipients are allowed to use the ACA-funded State Flexibility Grant...

CMS Proposed Rule Aims to Secure 2018 Risk Adjustment Payments

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that aims to resolve legal issues over the risk adjustment program’s payment methodology.  The rule would ensure that payers will receive appropriate risk adjustment payments for plan year 2018. The...

CMS Approves Wisconsin State Reinsurance Program

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has approved Wisconsin’s plan to launch a state reinsurance program from 2019 to 2023 to help reduce individual state premiums and control the growth of state healthcare spending. The program, called the Wisconsin Healthcare...

12 Attorneys General File Lawsuit Over Association Health Plans

by Thomas Beaton

A dozen state attorneys general are suing the Department of Labor (DOL) over the expansion of association health plan (AHPs).   In the suit, which was filed in the DC District Court of Appeals, the officials argue that broad...

CMS: We Will Make $10.4B in 2017 Risk-Adjustment Payments

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued a final rule that will allow the agency to disburse $10 billion in 2017 risk adjustment payments that had been in doubt due to a court ruling.   To comply with the initial outcome of a New Mexico lawsuit contending the...

All-Payers Claims Databases May Increase Healthcare Price Transparency

by Thomas Beaton

Leveraging the data of all-payers claims databases (APCDs) could improve healthcare price transparency for consumers, according to testimony presented at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. Jamie S. King, a professor at the USC...

CMS Proposes Drug Pricing, Price Transparency Changes for Medicare

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a series of policy changes for Medicare that would promote prescription drug affordability within Medicare, and has also requested stakeholder comments about ways to improve price transparency for Medicare services. As...

Vermont Government Plans Regulations for Association Health Plans

by Thomas Beaton

Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) is planning to implement emergency rules and regulations for association health plans (AHPs) following the Department of Labor’s final rule to allow AHP sales nationally. DFR...

Federal Court Strikes KY 1115 Medicaid Waiver Work Requirements

by Thomas Beaton

The US District Court for the District of Columbia has blocked Kentucky from implementing work requirements within its 1115 Medicaid waiver demonstration, despite CMS approval of the community engagement provisions. The court ruled that...

Department of Labor Finalizes Association Health Plan Expansion

by Thomas Beaton

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that expands consumer availability of association health plans (AHPs) starting on September 1, 2018. The rule comes months after President Trump and the DOL proposed executive changes...

BlueCross BlueShield Nets $2.3B in Savings from 2017 Tax Cuts

by Thomas Beaton

BlueCross BlueShield companies saw  a total tax savings of $2.3 billion after passage of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), according to a new creditor’s briefing from AM Best. BCBS companies reported a mix of...

AHIP, Provider Groups Balk at DOJ Position on ACA Mandates

by Thomas Beaton

AHIP and a number of professional societies and provider groups are urging the Trump Administration to enforce key provisions of the the Affordable Care Act after the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would not defend the ACA in a...

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