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March 12, 2008
More Mandates, More Costs
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

The three candidates who remain in the race for the White House have presented healthcare plans that include mandates, quality measures, and tax credits, but there is another option that more than 10 states have implemented, which could help reduce costs while removing barriers to care for the 47 million uninsured Americans. The idea is mandate-lite legislation, which allows health insurers to offer plans that are not as mandate-heavy. It is quite a departure from the mandated health insurance movement. [Read More]

Editor's Picks
Pending Medicaid cuts raise concerns
Florida healthcare leaders say federal and state cuts to Medicaid funding will hurt healthcare for the poor. Even without the cuts, many officials complain about the Medicaid services provided in Florida, particularly in Broward County, where a pilot project puts poor patients into managed-care programs. As a way to help get Medicaid funding for nursing homes, two Tampa Bay legislators have an idea--a $1 admission surcharge at strip clubs. [Read More]
Health insurers get poor marks from hospitals
A survey of hospital executives reports that hospitals give three of the nation's five largest insurers negative approval ratings. UnitedHealth Group, which contracts with 96% of hospitals that responded to the survey, received an "unfavorable" rating from 91% of the hospital executives who responded (8% "favorable"). WellPoint was second-worst with 48% "unfavorable" and 20% "favorable." On the other side, Aetna received the best score with 57% "favorable" compared to 37% "unfavorable." [Read More]
New York AG expands probe of health insurers
As he broadens the investigation into UnitedHealth Group's Ingenix, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued subpoenas to a number of health insurers, including Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp., and WellPoint Inc. Cuomo is requesting all e-mail correspondence involving the companies' CEOs, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, presidents, and employees supervising claims. He also wants records that may question the accuracy of reimbursements that he believes are too low. [Read More]
Road to faster HMO care proves a rocky one
California officials continue to debate the law that ensures that HMO patients have timely access to medical services. The law, which was passed six years ago, remains in limbo. The state Office of Administrative Law recently rejected draft regulations because the state Department of Managed Health Care did not provide enough time for public comment after the proposal was altered. Regulators have four months to come up with a new proposal. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Hospitals file lawsuit over Medicaid
AP/Yahoo News, March 12, 2008
Aetna to offer an online service that helps link records and research
New York Times, March 12, 2008
Iowa lawmakers approve healthcare plan
Des Moines Register, March 11, 2008
Insurers pressed to pay more for prostheses
Wall Street Journal (subscription required), March 11, 2008
WellPoint cuts its outlook, sending shivers through shares of insurers
New York Times, March 11, 2008
Errors delay BlueCross of Tennessee's release of doctor data
The Tennessean, March 11, 2008
Pennsylvania House to debate health-plan expansion
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 10, 2008
Connecticut hospital settles probe
Hartford Courant, March 10, 2008
Georgia Senate OKs online shop for cheaper health plans
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 7, 2008
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Listen Up
The Lifemasters Lesson
CMS recently granted an extension for LifeMasters Supported Selfcare's Florida demonstration project. The news was quite a departure from other recent CMS developments in DM. Chris Selecky, CEO of Lifemasters, speaks about the company's Florida demonstration project and what Lifemasters learned from the demo. [Listen Here]
Consumer Corner
Employee compliance rises as medicine copays drop
Incorporating a value-based insurance design (VBID) can increase the use of important medications, according to a new study. The study and the subject of VBIDs will be featured in a March 13 audio conference. [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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