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March 5, 2008
Cutting Copays, Improving Outcomes
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Faced with escalating healthcare costs, most health plans and employers increase copays and deductibles to bridge gaps, but growing research is showing that the reverse is actually the better alternative. A recent study published in Health Affairs of a large employer's value-based insurance design program, for example, showed how cutting copays for life-saving medications increases adherence. [Read More]

 
Editor's Picks
Health insurers address issue of nixed policies
In response to the furor over rescissions, health plans and an industry organization are proposing ways to avoid the lawsuits and bad press that sometimes follow cancelled policies. America's Health Insurance Plans is proposing the creation of external panels in states that would decide whether policy cancellations would stand. Some insurance companies are also looking to implement their own independent review processes. [Read More]
GAO disputes Medicare cost advantage
Medicare Advantage costs the government 13 percent more than regular Medicare programs, according to the Government Accountability Office. Health insurers will collect $54 billion more from Medicare over the next four years than what the government would spend if it provided the care directly to beneficiaries. Eleven percent will go to extra benefits under the Medicare Advantage program. After the report's release, House Democratic leaders criticized the Republican-supported Medicare Advantage program, which will pay insurers $86 billion this year. [Read More]
WA state insurance commissioner to call shots on rate increases
The Washington State Legislature agreed to return control of health insurance rates to the state insurance commissioner following eight years without regulation. A similar proposal was killed last year, but was reintroduced after the state experienced greater healthcare costs. Those with individual policies have been especially hit hard. [Read More]
States: Medicaid changes costly
Proposed Medicaid changes will mean a $50 billion cut to states over the next five years, which is almost four times the number stated by the Bush Administration, according to a Democratic congressional report. Governors have spoken out about the proposed changes because they say it will shift costs to the states forcing them to cut other programs. The Bush Administration says the changes are needed to make sure states aren't spending Medicaid funds on other programs. [Read More]
Oregon conducts health insurance lottery
Some of the estimated 600,000 Oregon residents without health insurance are hoping to win big in the lottery this week. Their reward won't be money, but health insurance coverage. The drawing is geared for people who are not poor enough for Medicaid, but not making enough to buy their own insurance. More than 80,000 people signed up for the lottery since January, and a few thousand will be chosen for the state program. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Michigan healthcare bills spark conflict between insurers
AP/Chicago Tribune, February 29, 2008
Google unveils personal medical record service
Reuters/Yahoo News, February 29, 2008
Massachusetts pulls back on health contracts
Boston Globe, February 29, 2008
Aetna backs off a colonoscopy change
New York Times, February 28, 2008
Decline is seen in use of free care in Massachusetts
Boston Globe, March 3, 2008
Los Angeles city attorney asks Blue Cross to substantiate claims
AP/San Francisco Chronicle, March 4, 2008
Judge OKs GM-UAW deal to create retiree healthcare trust
AP/Yahoo News, March 5, 2008
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Listen Up
Choice Important to HMO Support
The University of Michigan recently released a study that shows people are happy with their HMO as long as there are other health plan choices, such as a PPO. Richard Hirth, professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, talks about the findings and what it should mean for health insurers. [Listen Here]
Developments in DM
Safety net for high-risk pregnancies
Two healthcare companies have implemented programs that seek to prolong at-risk pregnancies. Childbirth-related expenses represent the highest health costs for many companies, and premature pregnancies consume 60 percent of neonatal healthcare dollars. High-risk pregnancies are not only short-term cost drivers, but premature babies can suffer from long-term (sometimes lifelong) health issues. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Love Thy Vendor?

HealthLeaders February 2008 Providers and IT suppliers don't get along, right? You can build a partnership of trust with your vendor--and actually get what you pay for. Here's how. [Read More]
   
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Resources From HCPro

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