Issue: Insurance

Association Insurance Pushes On Despite Court Ruling

The Trump administration in June issued rules making it easier for small employers to band together to buy health insurance through an association health plan, which doesn’t have to meet all the rules of the Affordable Care Act. In the first legal test, however, U.S. District Judge John Bates at the end of March sided with 11 states and the District of Columbia challenging the law. He invalidated a large chunk of those June rules, saying the administration issued them as an “end-run around the Affordable Care Act.” So what now?

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How Medicaid Work Requirements Undermine Hospitals

A move in more than a dozen states to impose work requirements as a condition of Medicaid coverage could not only result in people losing health insurance, but could also impact hospitals’ revenue, increase uncompensated care costs and have a detrimental economic effect on local communities, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. Rural hospitals could be especially hard hit, the report noted.

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Online Ads for Skimpy Health Plans Follow Consumers

Consumers shopping for insurance online last fall were most often directed to websites that promote individual health plans that didn’t meet consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act. “It was disturbing, but not unexpected, to find such a high proportion of misleading ads and come-ons, That raises the risk that consumers could be duped into buying health insurance that they think offers comprehensive and secure coverage but does not.”

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Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor skip care

Among the report’s findings: Nearly 20 percent of low-income people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they passed up needed medical care in the past 12 months because they couldn’t afford it. That compared to 9.4 percent in states that expanded the program. And about 8 percent of those in states that did not expand Medicaid reported they either skipped medication doses to save money or took less medication than prescribed. That compared to about 5 percent in states that expanded.

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Bringing Value to Iowa’s Medicaid Program

A fundamental flaw of Iowa’s current Medicaid managed care arrangement is its failure to provide value. After closely reviewing current research and examining effective Medicaid solutions from other states, Iowa’s hospitals believe there is a better way, a “Third Way” that puts Medicaid back under state control and evolves the program beyond the volume-based fee-for-service model – a way that creates and sustains value at a level that is simply impossible under the profit-driven private managed care organizations.

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Cost of Insulin Leads to Deadly Self-Rationing

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a terrible way to die. It’s what happens when you don’t have enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes highly acidic, your cells dehydrate, and your body stops functioning. Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son to diabetic ketoacidosis, three days before his payday, because he couldn’t afford his insulin.

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Understanding ‘Short-Term’ Health Insurance Plans

The federal government has issued health insurance rules that will allow people to shop for so-called “short-term plans.” Most of these plans will be much less expensive than plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) markets and to some people they may look like a better option. But the plans are cheaper for a reason: They cover fewer medical services than comprehensive insurance and they will cost more for people with pre-existing health problems, if they’ll cover them at all.

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Health Crisis: Rural Americans Most Vulnerable to Suicide

While the highly publicized deaths of celebrities frequently shock America, rural areas are suffering the most. Each year, thousands of Americans in small towns take their own lives after suffering — often for years — without adequate access to mental health professionals. It is time our elected officials and leaders of health care organizations examine the very system that is no longer able to serve rural Americans. In an era when drug use is skyrocketing in small communities, we should re-examine our priorities to stop more people from dying.

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5 Things to Know about Medicaid Work Requirements

A lawsuit before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., will determine whether tens of thousands of low-income adults in Kentucky will have to find jobs or volunteer in order to retain their health coverage. But the ruling could have far-reaching implications affecting millions of enrollees nationwide and determining how far the Trump administration can go in changing Medicaid without congressional action.

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