HCPro Health Plan Insider - August 27, 2008 | Learning from George Costanza View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Learning from George Costanza
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care
Low health literacy costs the country between $106 billion to $236 billion annually, according to a 2007 University of Connecticut study, yet many in healthcare continue to ignore the problem. This issue can lead patients to avoid the doctor or simply not follow directions. Just think of the barrier if a patient can't follow a doctor's instructions, and the potential impact that has on health. [Read More]
  August 27, 2008

Editor's Picks
Decline in uninsured is reported for 2007
Government-sponsored health insurance helped decrease the number of uninsured Americans in 2007, according to a Census Bureau report. The uninsured made up 45.7 million of the population, a more than one million person drop from 2006. The number of Americans covered by private insurance continued to decline, according to the report. [Read More]
Blue Cross plans feeling pressure to consolidate
The proposed health insurance changes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey may just be the start of Blue Cross plans looking for ways to compete with national health insurers. Independence Blue Cross and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pennsylvania are looking to merge, while Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's largest insurer, is hoping to become a for-profit company. Some are wondering whether Horizon's move is the first step in an acquisition by a large insurer, such as WellPoint, which operates more than a dozen for-profit Blues plans. [Read More]
Thousands of California children are in danger of losing health insurance
Budget cuts and added bureaucracy may lead to thousands of California children losing their health insurance. The state is increasing premiums for the state's Healthy Families program and requiring parents to renew their Medi-Cal health coverage every six months, which the Schwarzenegger administration expects will reduce Medi-Cal rolls by about 196,000 children over the next two years. Opponents of the measures say parents will delay care for children or use clogged emergency rooms for care. [Read More]
New Minnesota plan targets the older uninsured
Health insurer Medica is offering plans for those not old enough for Medicare. Medica Encore targets 50- to 64-year-old early retirees who don't yet qualify for Medicare. The health insurer estimates there are between 30,000 and 40,000 older Minnesotans who are uninsured because they retired early, were laid off, or work for employers that don't offer group coverage. Medica's plan is another sign of the movement to individual health insurance—though in other cases, health insurers have focused on the young adult market. [Read More]
Errors leave some without insurance in Massachusetts
Thousands of Massachusetts residents enrolled in the state's healthcare system have lost coverage since the start of 2008 because of mistakes on enrollment forms and errors by the state. Advocates say the state's eligibility documents are too complex and the state sometimes misinterprets information on the forms and mistakenly removes people from the program. [Read More]
Report faults Medicare audits
More than one-quarter of claims paid in Medicare's durable medical equipment program in 2006 were in error. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that almost 29% of claims paid in a random sampling were improper. This number is much higher than the 7.5% rate given by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The problem payments were fraudulent claims, insufficient documentation, and those for goods not deemed medically necessary. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Uninsured to spend $30 billion, study says
Wall Street Journal (subscription required), August 25, 2008
Warning rocks Healthways stock
The Tennessean, August 26, 2008
Cost of new mandate to extend coverage in Illinois remains in dispute
Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2008
Insurers warn brokers
Sacramento Business Journal, August 25, 2008
FSSA seeking Medicaid expansion for pregnant women in Indiana
AP/Chicago Tribune, August 22, 2008
Fairview, Blue Cross of Minnesota sign new contract
Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 22, 2008

Sept. 25: Create Programs that Engage and Retain Members: Build Loyalty and Lower Costs
On Demand: 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 plans
Listen Up
Individual insurance abounds
The individual health insurance market has grown as more employers have cut health benefits. Fred Karutz, senior vice president of business development at Norvax, an online health insurance technology company, talks about the individual market and how the shift to individual policies is affecting healthcare. [Listen Now]
From HealthLeaders Media
HR: Healthcare's In-House Private Eyes
Fingering the next serial killer might sound like a job best suited for CSI, but in the organized chaos that is the typical healthcare organization, the best gumshoe might just be human resources. [Listen Now]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
So You Think You're Strategic?

HealthLeaders August 2008
The healthcare C-suite talks a lot about strategy. But what constitutes true strategic thinking, and how can leaders be sure that it's taking place at their organizations? [Read More]
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Resources From HCPro

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