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January 9, 2008
Preempting Reform, Cont.
Brad Cain, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Last week I wrote about the ongoing debate over the Healthy San Francisco program and whether a key provision for making the plan financially feasible is actually allowable under federal law. But I'm writing this week not just to update the situation in San Francisco. I'm also interested in hearing your thoughts on the issue of ERISA preemption as it relates to the ongoing efforts at the state and local level to offer universal or near-universal coverage programs. [Read More]

Editor's Picks
UAW healthcare trust questioned
The historic new trust intended to pay the health costs of United Auto Workers retirees from Detroit's automakers could run out of money much sooner than anticipated. Thanks to two key problems: possibly inaccurate assumptions about the growth of healthcare costs, and $36 billion of the plan is unfunded so far. Industry experts say the scant public information about the trust--known as a voluntary employees' beneficiary association, or VEBA--provides little comfort that current benefits will remain as promised for hundreds of thousands of UAW retirees. [Read More]
New Blues chief sets broad agenda
Chester "Chet" Burrell, the new chief executive officer of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, is setting an ambitious agenda for himself and his company. His goals include designing new health insurance packages to cover the uninsured, finding ways to reward doctors and hospitals for good and efficient care, controlling medical costs, and building a secure system of electronic medical records. CareFirst has 3.2 million members in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. [Read More]
Florida OKs Medicare supplement plan
The parent company of the Any, Any, Any insurance plan for Medicare beneficiaries received an official nod of approval from Florida regulators. St. Petersburg-based Universal Health Care Insurance Co. has raised the required funds and met other basic requirements under a settlement with the state, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. [Read More]
For uninsured, Medicare makes a healthy impact
Uninsured people 55 and older, particularly those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, significantly reduce their risk of declining health after they enroll in Medicare at 65, according to research. [Read More]
Penalties to rise for shunning insurance in Massachusetts
Penalties for Massachusetts residents who can afford health insurance but do not purchase it in 2008 could quadruple compared with the maximum penalty in 2007, according to draft regulations released by the Department of Revenue. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
U.S. curtailing bids to expand Medicaid rolls
New York Times, January 9, 2008
California insurer wins a reprieve on class actions
Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2008
Maryland to seek children eligible for insurance
Baltimore Sun, January 9, 2008
Connecticut health plan moves forward
Hartford Courant, January 9, 2008
COBRA expense affects safety net appeal
The Denver Post, January 9, 2008
Assembly bill would help cover California's uninsured
The Sacramento Bee, January 9, 2008
San Francisco health plan has few takers on first day of expansion
San Francisco Chronicle, January 9, 2008
Gastric surgery puts obese patients at odds with insurance industry
Orlando Sentinel, January 9, 2008
Upcoming Events
Developments in DM

Politics, EHR efforts to dominate in 2008: The issue of how to care for the chronically ill is likely to play a role--even a prominent one--in the 2008 presidential election. But even as much of the country spends its year focused on politics, the major electronic health record efforts being launched by giants such as Microsoft, Inc., and Google could have a much bigger impact on the disease and care management industry this year, disease management insiders say. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Creating a Giant
Two Pennsylvania payers say their merger will slash costs and reduce uninsured rolls, but some providers remain jittery over decreased insurer competition. [Read more]
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Resources From HCPro

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