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Healthcare News

 

Payer groups form coalition to push surprise billing reforms

6/13/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
Two of the biggest insurance industry groups have teamed up to advocate for policies related to surprise billing.


America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association headline the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing, which was formally unveiled earlier this week. Other groups involved in the organization include the National Association of Health Underwriters and America’s Physician Groups. 


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Trump administration finalizes plan to expand HRAs

6/13/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
The Trump administration has finalized a plan that would expand employers’ ability to offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to employees.


The departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury first proposed the joint rule in October, which would reconfigure Obama-era regulations that limited employers’ use of HRAs beginning in January 2020. Under an HRA, employers would pay a stipend to allow employees to purchase coverage on the individual markets. 


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AMA says yes to strengthening ACA, no to ending opposition to 'Medicare-for-All' single-payer reform

6/12/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
The country’s largest physician organization says the country should build on the success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help ensure health insurance for patients rather than move to a single-payer system under “Medicare for All."


At its annual meeting in Chicago this week, the American Medical Association’s (AMA's) delegates voted to adopt a new policy that boosts its push for universal coverage by improving the ACA. The delegates also defeated a motion to remove the AMA’s opposition to a single-payer approach to health system reform, which is currently being debated in Congress where Democrats have introduced a bill to create a Medicare-for-All system.


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Berwick: Cost concerns over 'Medicare-for-All' overblown

6/12/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
The political posturing in Congress over "Medicare for All" continued Wednesday at the latest hearing on the implications of a single-payer system.


The House Ways and Means Committee hosted a panel of health policy experts and advocates to discuss Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s bill that would establish a government-run health system that’s fashioned after Medicare. 


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Lawmakers: If industry doesn't solve surprise billing problem, 'we will,' and 'none of you will like it'

6/12/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
Several lawmakers issued warnings Wednesday to industry leaders—including payers and hospitals—to figure out how they can stop patients from being stung by unexpectedly high medical bills before Congress has to step in.


House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, acknowledged different parts of the industry have good reasons to disagree. But, he said, "if you don’t help us solve the problem, we will solve the problem and none of you will like it." His comments sent the tone of increasing frustration among lawmakers and consumer advocates in a morning and afternoon of testimony from medical experts about the potential impact of the No Surprises Act.


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Quest, LabCorp data breach highlights cyber risk from vendors: Moody's

6/11/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp—two of the largest clinical labs in the U.S.—are still trying to respond to the fallout from a breach that impacted the data of 20 million patients.


Among the potential consequences? Their credit rating.


While there is no immediate financial impact for Quest and LabCorp, the breach is credit negative for the companies because it exposes them to reputational risk and shines a spotlight on how they select and assess their vendors, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service.


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Study links Medicaid expansion with lower cardiovascular disease mortality rates

6/7/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
States that expanded Medicaid saw lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease compared to nonexpansion states, according to a new study.


Researchers led by a team at the University of Pennsylvania found that counties in expansion states saw 4.3 fewer deaths from cardiovascular conditions per 100,000 after Medicaid was expanded. 


That translates to about 2,000 fewer deaths per year among middle-income adults in each expansion state, the study found.


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Anthem to acquire behavioral health provider Beacon Health Options

6/6/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
Anthem announced Thursday that it plans to buy Boston-based Beacon Health Options, the country’s largest independently held behavioral health provider.


Beacon cares for 36 million people across all 50 states with 3 million enrolled in a comprehensive, risk-based model, according to Anthem. Acquiring Beacon aligns with Anthem’s broader strategic goal of expanding further into the provider space and integrating services more fully, the insurance giant said. 


Should the deal be finalized, Anthem said the acquisition will allow it to offer integrated behavioral and physical health care services to customers nationwide. Beacon will be combined with Anthem’s existing behavioral health business, according to the announcement.


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AHIP, other industry groups call for phased approach to CMS interoperability rule

6/5/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
America's Health Insurance Plans and many other healthcare industry groups are urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take a phased approach to its proposed interoperability rule, saying the proposed 2020 implementation timeline is "unrealistic."


The proposed rule (PDF), which CMS released back in February, would require Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare Advantage plans and Qualified Health Plans to make enrollee data immediately accessible via application programming interfaces (APIs) by 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services received 1,700 comments on the rule.


In its comments to CMS, AHIP said the timeline for the rule should be phased-in no sooner than 2022 and also tied to the development of standards as well as consumer privacy protections.


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CVS plans to turn 1,500 stores into HealthHUBs

6/5/2019


(FierceHealthcare)
After piloting its HealthHUB format in a collection of its Houston stores, CVS Health announced during its investor day Tuesday that it's planning for 1,500 retail locations to follow suit in the next two years.


As CVS has described the hubs, they have more than 20% of the store dedicated to health services including "new product categories, digital tools and on-demand health kiosks, trusted advice and personalized care." 


Its goal is for its locations to serve as “community-based health hubs” that can answer patients’ questions about prescription drugs, insurance coverage and their own health conditions.


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