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April 9, 2008
Creating a Better System
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Imagine despising something so much that you're willing to discard a system that puts you among the nation's top earners. That's what a majority of physicians recently surveyed thinks about the current health insurance system. Five years after asking physicians about universal healthcare, Aaron E. Carroll, MD, MS, and Ronald T. Ackerman, MD, MPH, of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, revisited the question. [Read More]

Editor's Picks
Medicare finds how hard it is to save money
The alleged failure of the Medicare Health Support (MHS) program is an example of how difficult it is to find savings in the elderly patient population. The three-year disease management project will end this year with no plans for a second phase as CMS claims the experiment has not reduced medical costs enough to offset the program's fees. [Read More]
WellPoint: 11 errors off-limits
WellPoint plans to halt reimbursement payments to hospitals and doctors for 11 medical errors considered preventable. The errors include surgery on the wrong body part, a wrong surgery performed on a patient, surgery on the wrong patient, bedsores, a sponge left in the body after surgery, and urinary tract infections associated with catheter use. WellPoint's announcement follows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which last year announced it was ending payments for some medical mistakes. [Read More]
In Massachusetts, universal coverage strains care
With about 340,000 Massachusetts residents gaining health insurance, patients in rural areas of the Bay State are faced with long waiting lists for doctor appointments. The influx of patients is causing some physicians to increase the number of people they see each day and limit the number of physicals. It's not just Massachusetts with the problem. Other states are also facing physician shortages. [Read More]
Government to raise pay to seniors' health insurers
Health insurers providing Medicare Advantage coverage will see a 3.6% increase in payments next year, a slight bump from the current year's reimbursements. The increase is slightly lower than the estimated 3.7% expected growth increase for Medicare in 2009. The payment rate serves as a benchmark against which companies offer services, and not a final payment amount. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Firms' health clinics cut costs
Wall Street Journal (subscription required), April 9, 2008
Iowa Senate approves $25 million healthcare expansion
AP/Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2008
Plan to extend medical aid hits New Jersey bump
AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, April 7, 2008
Supporters vow to continue work on KY dialysis reimbursements
Louisville Courier-Journal, April 7, 2008
CIGNA completes purchase of Denver insurer
Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2008
Health insurance rule taken out of Iowa bill
Des Moines Register, April 4, 2008
Partnership covers healthcare for uninsured Birmingham children
Birmingham News, April 4, 2008
McCain camp working out healthcare details
Boston Globe, April 4, 2008
Connecticut agency Web site shows insurers' fines, violations
Hartford Courant, April 4, 2008
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Listen Up
Reaching Your Market
Beth Bierbower talks about how to combat consumer inertia, how to involve families in healthy living and healthcare, and how a company of any size can implement engagement strategies. She recently wrote Engage! A Guide to Involving Your Consumers in Their Health. [Listen Here]
Consumer Corner
Report Identifies Best Account-Based Plan Practices
Employers who succeed at account-based health plans set objectives, provide leadership, communicate value, and help employees understand and manage risk, according to a recent Towers Perrin survey of U.S. employers. [Read More]
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