The Affordable Care Act isn't a piece of software, but the way it has been written, implemented, updated and challenged is reminiscent of the software development process. What the ACA needs now is an upgrade, not a rip-and-replace job.
Roughly 4 million people used either Healthcare.gov or a state insurance exchange to select a health plan in time for Jan. 1 enrollment. That's certainly a good sign, but truly judging the impact of the exchanges requires more than just a cursory glance at the numbers.
Whenever my wife and I receive a health insurance statement in the mail, we begin a familiar ritual. I open the envelope, show the contents to my wife and ask, "You want this?" She shakes her head. I walk downstairs and add it to the growing pile that I'll stuff into a manila folder in a file cabinet that, at this point, is far too heavy to move. This scenario plays itself out all too often at my house--and probably at yours.
Governent data indicates that healthcare spending growth in 2013 slowed to just 3.6 percent, the lowest level in more than 50 years. Sustaining this slowdown won't be easy, but insurers can play a key role in making it happen.
After celebrating Thanksgiving last week with my family, I'm still feeling grateful for many aspects of my life. I'm also thankful for many parts of the health insurance industry. I decided to dedicate this column to many of the positive changes that have happened recently--some at the hands of the Affordable Care Act, others driven by insurers themselves.
Consumers don't know what health services or procedures cost, so they can't make informed decisions about where and whether they receive care. As it turns out, there are many ways for consumers to get pricing information. So if these tools exist, why don't consumers use them?
Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid plan owned by MVP Health Care, is taking steps to ensure its members get important preventive health screenings like mammograms. Since 2012, the Hudson Valley-based insurer's customer service representatives have been calling members to encourage them to get their mammograms. And to incentivize their members, Hudson Health gives them a $25 gift card when they undergo a mammogram.
I did a lot of shaking my head as I wrote about Honeywell's wellness program last week. The New Jersey-based company is planning on penalizing employees who don't participate in health screenings. And a federal judge just sanctioned those penalties, which include fining employees $500 fine for not undergoing biometric screenings and withholding $1,500 annually in company contributions to employees' health savings accounts for not undergoing wellness screenings like blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol tests.