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VA Awards Accenture $62M Benefits IT Infrastructure Contract

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Accenture received a one-year, $62 million contract by the VA’s Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) division to improve the VBA’s technology infrastructure for delivering member benefits. Accenture Federal Services (AFS)...

Humana Expands Long-Term Social Health Determinant Investments

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Humana, and its philanthropic arm the Humana Foundation, announced changes to their grant making processes that provide long-term investments into community programs that address the social determinants of health (SDOH). The new...

Humana Becomes Latest Payer to End AHIP Membership

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Humana is the latest commercial payer to end its membership in AHIP, the nation’s largest health insurance trade organization. “Humana has not actively participated in AHIP since early 2017,” a Humana spokesperson told...

VA Union: Investigate $90M in Third-Party Contractor Payments

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has sent a letter to VA leadership proposing an investigation into $90 million of improper payments made to the third-party contractors of the Veteran’s Choice program. The...

MS Awarded 10-Year Extension of 1115 State Medicaid Waiver

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Mississippi will be the first state to receive a 10-year extension of a 1115 Medicaid waiver, CMS announced.  The waiver originally implemented in 2003, expands eligibility requirements for individuals who can receive family planning...

Federal Tax Bill, Individual Mandate Repeal Passes House and Senate

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GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate passed a federal tax bill that includes a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance.  The bill now heads back to the House for a procedural vote and afterwards...

Aetna to Waive Narcan Co-Pays, Combat Opioid Overprescribing

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Aetna will be the first national payer to waive Narcan co-pays for fully-insured members as part of a larger effort to address the nation’s opioid crisis, the payer announced in a press release. Narcan is considered a preferred...

Integrated Care Model Lowers Health System Medical Costs

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Cigna’s integrated care model partnership with Texas-based Catalyst Health helped reduce the health system’s total medical costs to 5.6 percent below industry averages, the organizations announced in a press release. The Cigna...

Optum to Purchase DaVita Medical Group for $4.9B

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Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, has agreed to acquire DaVita Medical Group for $4.9 billion, expanding the health care services company’s footprint in the direct care delivery environment. The acquisition, expected to be...

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

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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...

CVS Caremark Provides Real-Time Benefits Data to Pharmacies

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CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) of CVS Health, will provide pharmacies and prescribers with real-time benefits data on patients as a way to reduce payer and patient drug costs, the organization announced in a press...

Health Plan Partnership Aims to Boost Care for Native Americans

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A merger between Tribal First (a subsidiary of Alliant Specialty Insurance Services) and American Indian Health Services (AIHS) will combine two national leaders in providing quality care to Native Americans, the organizations announced in...

ACA Individual Mandate Repeal Could Cut Insured Number By 13M

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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...

Humana Adds Former ONC Chief Karen DeSalvo as Board Member

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Former National Coordinator for Health IT and Assistant HHS Secretary Karen DeSalvo, will join Humana’s board of directors, the payer announced in a press release. Humana believes that the addition of DeSalvo to the board will...

Value-Based Care Outperforms Fee-for-Service Health Plans

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Health plans that include value-based care (VBC) principles are more cost-effective than fee-for-service (FFS) options and are starting to produce better patient outcomes, Humana asserts in a new report. The total healthcare costs...

Maine Referendum Expands Medicaid Despite Governor Opposition

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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...

Emergency Response Devices Add Value to Medicare Advantage Plan

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Anthem BlueCross BlueShield plans to add value onto consumer Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by offering personal emergency response systems (PERS) to beneficiaries, the payer announced in a series of press releases. MA beneficiaries in...

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

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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...

AHIP Launches Initiative To Combat Nationwide Opioid Crisis

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AHIP launched the Safe, Transparent Opioid Prescribing (STOP) Initiative to support health plans’ widespread adoption of clinical guidelines for pain care and opioid prescribing, and combat the national opioid crisis, the...

Mercy Health, Centene Form Medicaid Accountable Care Organization

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Mercy Health of Arkansas and the Centene Corporation have received approval to operate an accountable care organization within the state focusing on Medicaid beneficiaries, the organizations announced in a press release. Centene...

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