Medicare Part D linked to fewer hospital visits, lower costs

Prescription drug insurance for seniors will reduce the use of and spending on nonpharmacy medical services, researchers at the University of Illinois and the Johns Hopkins University found when comparing national records from before and after Medicare Part D kicked in 2006.

Insurers offer grocery coupons for healthier members

Insurers are taking a page out of the Sunday paper, sending grocery coupons to consumers to encourage healthy eating, CNBC reported.

It's final: Exchange enrollment has closed

After several deadline delays, enrollment for the federal health insurance exchange officially closed as of midnight Tuesday.

Uninsured drops three-fold in ACA-friendly states

States expanding Medicaid while also operating their own health insurance exchanges experienced a larger drop in the uninsured rate compared to states that ignored these Affordable Care Act measures, a new Gallup poll shows.

Price transparency should start with insurers

Insurers, providers and some of their lobbying groups have issued new recommendations that give payers a leading role in advancing price transparency in healthcare.

Medicare Advantage plans provide more benefits than Medicare

Almost all Medicare Advantage plans offer broader coverage than traditional Medicare, according to a new study from HealthPocket. The study found 97 percent of 2014 private Medicare Advantage plans provided at least one additional benefit, whether vision, dental or hearing, that isn't provided in Medicare plans.

Medicare Advantage payment changes stir anger

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' recent reversal of proposed payment cuts to Medicare Advantage plans has yet to gain a ton of supporters, reports The Washington Post.

Census survey changes may hide reform law effects

The Census Bureau plans to change its annual survey so drastically that it may be difficult to determine the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, reports the New York Times.

Insurers to expand exchange offerings next year

The Affordable Care Act was a boon for health insurers, with a strong enrollment surge and more young, healthy consumers signing up. So insurers are preparing to expand their offerings on health insurance exchanges.

Medical care, prescription use climb

Consumers used more healthcare services last year, particularly for specialists, hospitals and prescription drugs--representing the first increamanse in three years--concludes a new report from research firm IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

Abortion coverage info not clear in exchange plans

Insurers provide vague information about abortion coverage, making it hard for consumers to discern whether plans they're interested in cover these services, according to a new analysis.

Do insurers discriminate based on genetics?

Despite multiple claims that insurers discriminate against consumers based on genetic tests, no study has ever proven that theory true, according to a New York Times opinion piece.

More states turn to ACOs to hold down Medicaid costs

Colorado was one of the first states to launch an accountable care-like model in 2011 to rein in Medicaid costs while improving quality of care. But other states are now following the Centennial State's lead. States across the country are either joining Medicaid ACO demonstration projects, in the middle of a pilot program or looking to start one, MedPage Today reported.

Obesity coverage could cut chronic condition costs

More than nine months since the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease, federal law still forbids Medicare from covering obesity medications. But coverage of obesity under Medicare and other insurance plans could slow the rate of chronic diseases and reduce the long-term costs of obesity-related chronic conditions.

CBO: Healthcare reform will cost $100B less than expected

Health insurance premiums will be lower than expected for the next few years. Therefore, the Congressional Budget Office revised its estimated cost of the Affordable Care Act to $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years--a decrease of about $100 billion.

Consumers confused about what preventive care means

Now that insurers must cover preventive care, many consumers are seeking what they believe to be preventive care services from their doctors but find they're getting billed. So insurers and doctors are trying to educate and explain what constitutes preventive care, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Social video marketing can boost member engagement

Insurers looking to engage their members and boost their online experience, plus recruit consumers, should consider using social video marketing, according to MarketingProfs.

Tenn. Blues fights $44K out-of-network hospital bill

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a member against a subsidiary hospital of for-profit  chain HCA Holdings Inc., reported The Tennessean.

3 strategies to win over healthcare consumers

The changing health insurance market means payers must adapt their business model to win over customers. As our recent FierceHealthPayer coverage shows, insurers must ramp up engagement efforts and...

Seasonal employees may lose coverage

Thousands of variable-hour employees--workers whose hours change on a weekly or seasonal basis--could soon lose their healthcare benefits, reports the Wall Street Journal.