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Health Insurers Take Bite Out of Dental
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Health plans are finding that offering dental benefits not only helps them maintain customers, but also allows them to take a more holistic approach to their members and gives them more predictability and a lower risk than medical. [Read More]
  November 19, 2008

Editor's Picks
WellPoint will offer medical travel benefits
WellPoint plans to enter the medical travel market in January. The country's second-largest health insurer will offer employees of Wisconsin-based Serigraph Inc., the option of traveling to India for nonemergency procedures. WellPoint joins a handful of U.S. insurers offering medical travel benefits as a way to reduce costs. [Read More]
Senator takes initiative on healthcare
In the race to spark healthcare reform, Sen. Max Baucus, who chairs the Finance Committee, unveiled a blueprint to guarantee health insurance for all. The plan would eventually require all Americans to have health insurance with federal subsidies for those who cannot afford the benefits. The blueprint includes facilitating private insurance sales, expanding Medicaid and Medicare, and requiring most employers to provide or pay for health benefits. [Read More]
Pennsylvania Senate panel: Set limits on merged Blues
Concerned what a merged Blues plan will mean to Pennsylvania, the state's Senate Banking and Insurance Committee suggested conditions to limit the health plan's market power. A state official said the proposed merger of Independence Blue Cross and Highmark Inc., which will create the largest health insurer in the state, could make insurance unaffordable and mean hospitals and doctors will have little voice in fees. Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner is expected to decide on the merger in January. [Read More]
Campaign to end two-year insurance gap for disabled
Two lawmakers filed a bill that would phase out the two-year waiting period for the government to review whether individual disabled people qualify for Medicare. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Gene Green and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, would eliminate the waiting period gradually over 10 years. The bill would also allow those with life-threatening illnesses to get coverage immediately. [Read More]
Medicaid program on skids, Louisiana governor says
Saying the state's Medicaid program is on an unsustainable financial path, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal proposed a plan to restructure Medicaid members into a private managed care model. Jindal released his proposal as a 65-page concept paper, and the plan would still need federal government and state Legislature approval. The state's Medicaid program is expected to consume 21% of the general fund budget by 2011. [Read More]
Happy Thanksgiving!
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Health Plan Insider will not publish next week, but will be back December 3.
Managed Care Headlines
Aetna tells employees it will pursue staff cuts
Associated Press - November 14, 2008
Small firms shiver as health premiums rise
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - November 17, 2008
Massachusetts doctors' fear of lawsuits tied to added costs of $1.4 billion
Boston Globe - November 18, 2008
Kennedy asks Hillary Clinton to head healthcare team
Los Angeles Times - November 19, 2008
Connecticut governor agrees to end linking HUSKY, Charter Oak insurance plans
Hartford Courant - November 18, 2008
Medicare wants limits for weight loss surgery
Reuters/Yahoo News - November 18, 2008
Blueprint outlines overhaul in Oregon
The Oregonian - November 17, 2008
Illinois high court removes block on FamilyCare funds
Chicago Tribune - November 14, 2008
Waiver is a life-saver for parents on state health insurance
Minneapolis Star Tribune - November 13, 2008
WellCare income drops
Jacksonville Business Journal - November 14, 2008

Events/Audio conferences
December 16: What Your Practice Is Worth: Calculating Fair Market Value
On Demand: Financial Meltdown: Managing Through The Crisis
On Demand: In-sourcing vs. Outsourcing Disease and Health Management: What's the Right Mix
On Demand: Health Literacy: Four Ways to Create a Successful Program
On Demand: Value-based insurance design: Alternative to high-deductible plans
Listen Up
Helping the Little Guy
Thomas Dwyer, COO of Atlantis Health Plan, discusses the small employer health insurance market and what small businesses want from their health plans. [Listen Here]
Developments in DM
Possible convergence of retail pharmacies, DM
Retail pharmacies may have a future in disease management because retail pharmacies are conveniently located, offer extended hours, sell pharmaceuticals and health products, and enjoy brand-name recognition, according to a Deloitte Center for Health Solutions report. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
The Big Keep Getting Bigger

Some major changes afoot for health insurance companies in the eastern United States have intensified concerns about the implications for the broader managed care landscape—and whether the next step is an industry ruled by a handful of insurance giants. [Read More]
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Resources From HCPro

Learn what's the right mix of disease management programs for your company.
Find out how health literacy affects your members.
Discover how to integrate wellness into your DM programs.
Keep track of the competition with the DM & Wellness Directory and Guidebook.
Read about practical strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of health and disease management programs.
Learn how to educate and engage members.
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