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June 25, 2008
Two Phrases from AHIP: Consumerism and Interactivity
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

There were two themes I heard repeatedly at the America's Health Insurance Plans conference in San Francisco last week: Consumer-directed healthcare is more than shifting health costs onto members and creating personal health record portals is not enough. [Read More]

Editor's Picks
AHIP Roundup
I attended America's Health Insurance Plans conference last week in San Francisco. Here are three dispatches from the event:
Study: California HMOs raked in $4 billion profits
The 1,000-plus protesters who surrounded America’s Health Insurance Plan conference in San Francisco last week are not going to like this report. A California Medical Association report found that Golden State health insurers made $4.3 billion in profits in the last year. The medical association also reported that HMOs spent $6 billion on administrative costs, which the report said could have gone toward lowering premiums and providing insurance to the uninsured. The report could serve as fodder for supporters of a bill in the California Legislature that would require health plans to spend at least 85% of their annual income on healthcare. [Read More]
U.S. health insurers look to China for growth
Aetna plans to announce today that it has opened a representative office in Shanghai, which is the first step in the process for foreign companies interested in doing business in China. Aetna is the latest health insurer to open such offices in China. Insurers, such as UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint, view China as a potential area of growth. [Read More]
Washington, DC, sues CareFirst, says provider must donate millions
Washington, DC, is suing CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield claiming the region’s largest health insurer has been hoarding its annual surpluses rather than circulating funds back to the community. According to Washington, DC, officials, CareFirst enjoyed a $754 million surplus in 2007, and did not share the money with district residents. CareFirst is required to donate $100 million into the community, but has instead put the money into surpluses and executive salaries, according to a district official. [Read More]
Rising employer premiums threaten health coverage in Washington state, AARP finds
More than a quarter of Washington businesses say they will drop their employee health coverage if costs rise another 15%, according to an AARP survey. Two-thirds of employers surveyed said that if rising healthcare costs continue, they will pass along higher costs to employees in the next three years. [Read More]
Have a Great Fourth of July!
From all of us at HCPro, Inc., have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday. Health Plan Insider will not publish next week, but will be back July 9.
Managed Care Headlines
Medical care pricing a tangled web
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, June 23, 2008
Consumer advocate sought to review PA health insurers' merger
AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2008
Supreme Court upholds ruling on health benefits
New York Times, June 20, 2008
Massachusetts bill seeks expansion of health benefits
Boston Globe, June 25, 2008
Error puts 16,000 Mass. residents in dark about benefits
Boston Globe, June 24, 2008
Kennedy fights for Massachusetts Medicaid
Boston Globe, June 20, 2008
Pittsburgh-area healthcare advocates to keep up fight
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 19, 2008

July 22:
Health Literacy: Four Ways to Create a Successful Program
On Demand: Legal and Tax Implications of Incentive Program Designs
On Demand: Value-based insurance design: Alternative to high-deductible plansUpcoming Events/Audioconferences
Listen Up
Communicating Properly
Dexter Campinha-Bacote, MD, medical director at Aetna, talks about the reasons why health plans should create a health literacy program and the economic reasons that drive the need. Campinha-Bacote is taking part in a July 22 audioconference on how to create a health literacy program. [Listen Here]
Consumer Corner
PHRs: A Potentially Powerful Consumer Tool
Due to the entry of Google and Microsoft into the healthcare field, interest in and access to personal health records will likely continue to grow. But what are PHRs and what do they mean to consumerism? [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
When the Auditor Comes Calling
Medicare's RAC demonstration is designed to catch payment mistakes, but some providers say auditors are getting carried away. [Read More]
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