News

Insurers extend ACA coverage deadline in 37 states

The official deadline for signing up for coverage as of Jan. 1 through an Affordable Care Act insurance exchange has passed, but numerous insurers have voluntarily extended their application period for ACA plans.

Humana CEO: Member engagement key to cutting healthcare costs

Humana's recent success in controlling costs has come in large part from an emphasis on member engagement, according to CEO Bruce Broussard.

Despite competition, health insurance brokers still have role in industry

Are health insurance brokers becoming irrelevant? On one side of the argument, it's possible that the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is meant to replace brokers. On the flip side, brokers may be essential to exchanges.

 

3 steps to healthcare payment reform

In order to achieve payment reform, the healthcare industry must take several key steps, says Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs. He recommends that the healthcare industry let leaders lead, think small and focus on the journey, not the destination.

 

Here are some highlights from three of the five steps Weil outlines in his post.

Employer executives want healthcare reform, increased transparency

Almost 74 percent of senior executives in the country's largest companies want policies that bring about comprehensive healthcare reform, better quality measurement and increased transparency, according to a new survey from the Pacific Business Group and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

Arkansas private option at risk despite success

The pioneering private Medicaid expansion option that originated in Arkansas is on the chopping block despite having already lowered costs.

Growing economy good for employer mandate

With the economy on the rise, and more jobs being created, the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate is less unpopular than it once was.

What caused the Medicare spending slowdown?

Back in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that Medicare spending would be $706 billion in 2014. But spending will end up amounting to $580 billion. 

 

A number of factors contributed to this $126 billion gap, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Reference-based pricing helps control lab costs

Reference-based pricing can help control lab costs when consumers are supported with education and an online shopping tool, according to a new study from Cigna and Safeway that was published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

ACA has reduced uninsurance rates for minorities

The Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion efforts have helped close racial and ethnic disparities among America's uninsured, according to a report from the Urban Institute.

Payers take steps forward with mobile apps in 2014

In a busy year for the healthcare industry, payers tried to move beyond the technical glitches and court rulings associated with the Affordable Care Act and focus instead on the ACA's aim to make healthcare more accessible and personal. To play into this idea of the consumerization of healthcare, payers have been busy exploring mobile applications that keep members healthy and temper rising healthcare costs.

Employers warming up to idea of private exchanges

Employers may be open to considering a private exchange, but there needs to be guidance in terms of how those exchanges get paid.

For wellness programs, choice is often sharing personal health data or paying a fine

Consumers are hesitant to participate in employer wellness programs, fearing that their health records will be on public display, reported Bloomberg. Nearly 80 percent of large employers offer wellness programs. About a third of them assess employees a fine if they choose to not participate.

Insurers loosen payment deadlines for ACA plans

Insurers are voluntarily offering flexible payment deadlines for customers who purchase insurance through the federal marketplace, America's Health Insurance Plans said.

Some Medicare Advantage plans better able to control risk factors

Medicare Advantage members of ethnic backgrounds with high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes are much less likely than white members to have these risk factors under control, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. That poses a problem, as it can substantially raise individuals' risk of health complications and increase the need for otherwise unnecessary care.

Healthcare.gov enrollment to reach 10.5M by 2015, Avalere says

Enrollment in Healthcare.gov is expected to reach 10.5 million people by the end of next year, according to an analysis from Avalere Health. That's higher than the White House estimate of 9.1 million enrollees but lower than the Congressional Budget Office's prediction of 13 million.

Humana's ACO reduced costs by 19 percent

Humana's Medicare Advantage ACO has reduced costs by 19 percentThe insurer analyzed data of nearly one million MA members from 2013 and found a number of measurable improvements.

As Tennessee unveils Medicaid expansion proposal, other states follow suit

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced an alternative to Medicaid expansion proposal Monday morning, making the Volunteer State the latest Republican stronghold to explore Medicaid options under the Affordable Care Act. The administration was quick to note that it isn't expanding Medicaid but unveiling "Insure Tennessee."

Teaching hospitals left out of narrow networks in push to cut insurance costs

Academic medical centers increasingly find themselves on the outside of many insurers' provider networks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

UnitedHealth to bundle payment for MD Anderson Cancer Care

UnitedHealth announced Monday that it will pay MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston a flat fee to provide head and neck cancer care. The new bundled payment program is part of UnitedHealth's effort to increase its value-based reimbursements, which it said has already tripled since 2011.