HCPro Health Plan Insider - March 25, 2009 | Five Things Health Insurers, DM Need to Know About HITECH View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Five Things Health Insurers, DM
Need to Know About HITECH

Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act will bring changes to personal health information regulation and enforcement. Managed care companies need to prepare for the regulations that go into effect in February 2010. [Read More]
  March 25, 2009

Editor's Picks
Blumenthal Spearheads Health IT Reform
In naming David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, as his national coordinator for health IT, President Obama has selected someone with healthcare and policy experience to lead the IT effort. Blumenthal will oversee $19 billion in health IT funds, including about $17 billion in incentive payments for providers who adopt electronic health records. Blumenthal won't have time to ease into the role. According to the stimulus bill, standards and specifications for the health IT portion of the bill are expected by the end of this year. [Read More]
Medical Advantage Cuts Will Increase Premiums, Force Millions Out of Program
A Blue Cross Blue Shield Association official says that proposed Medicare Advantage cuts and subsequent premium increases could force millions of seniors into traditional Medicare plans without care coordination and would shift more costs onto beneficiaries. BCBSA, which covers 1.6 million Medicare Advantage enrollees in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, said the Obama administration's proposed 5% Medicare Advantage payment cuts to private insurers could increase beneficiary premiums by $50-$80 per month. CMS will make its final decision on rates by April 6. [Read More]
House Dems set deadline for healthcare compromise
Democrats have a message for Republicans: you have until September to come up with a compromise healthcare reform plan. If Republicans don't step forward, House Democrats say they will barrel ahead with their own proposal through budget reconciliation, which is a shortcut that allows lawmakers to push a filibuster-proof bill through Congress. Needless to say, Republicans are not keen on the idea of the Democrats ramming a bill through Congress. Though it could be seen as a wise procedural strategy, budget reconciliation would sever any chance for a bipartisan healthcare reform bill. [Read More]
Bill would make insurers cover pre-existing conditions
In a move to protect the 133 million Americans with at least one chronic illness, a Democratic Senator filed a bill that would forbid health insurers from excluding people with pre-existing conditions. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who filed the bill, hopes the legislation is part of a larger healthcare reform plan this year. In its healthcare reform proposal, America's Health Insurance Plans agreed to stop using pre-existing conditions as a reason to not cover people or charge them more for their coverage if lawmakers include an individual mandate that requires all Americans have health insurance as part of a reform package. [Read More]
Michigan Blues offer agents incentive to sign up healthier members
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is offering commissions of up to 20% to insurance agents who enroll consumers "with no major ongoing health conditions" in a new line of individual insurance plans. Agents who sell policies to "high-risk" consumers earn a commission of only 1% to 2%. The insurer's aim is to bring in younger and healthier members to balance the costs of covering sicker customers and to compensate insurance agents similar to other private insurers, according to the company. Needless to say, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is not happy about the commissions and said the move conflicts with the company's mission as the state's insurer of last resort, which requires it covers all Michigan residents. Cox said his office will investigate whether the commissions comply with state law. [Read More]
Are You a Top Leadership Team?
HealthLeaders Media is gearing up for its fifth year of the Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare program. Health insurers with varied specialties have won the Health Plan portion of the contest over the past three years, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Erickson Advantage, and CareSource Management Group. If you think your organization has an outstanding teamwork story to share, submit your entry today.
Follow Me on Twitter
I joined the Twitter nation last week as a way to connect with readers and industry leaders. Since joining Twitter, I have been posting (I refuse to call it Tweeting) with links to interesting news stories and blog entries from industry leaders, as well as providing some quick analysis. I also send updates when I post my articles. I hope that my Twitter page can be a place where we can have a discussion about the most pressing healthcare issues. I enjoy communicating with readers via e-mail (and please keep the e-mails coming), but hope that Twitter will spark even more readers to reach out. Click here and you will be brought to my Twitter page. Click on the follow button and you'll receive my updates. Don't worry, I won't clog your Twitter page with posts about an especially delicious lunch or how I hate winter. See you on Twitter.
Managed Care Publications: 60-second survey
We are conducting a 60-second survey to uncover your views about the use of literature and peer-review publications in the coverage and reimbursement process. Click here to go to the survey.
Managed Care Headlines
Health insurance squeezes America's workers
AP/Yahoo News - March 24, 2009
A health plan for all and the concerns it raises
New York Times - March 25, 2009
Crunch time for fixing healthcare
Washington Post - March 23, 2009
Healthcare battle set to focus on public plan
Wall Street Journal - March 24, 2009
Fewer than 1,000 enroll in Cover Florida
Tampa Bay Business Journal - March 25, 2009
Few individual health policies cover maternity
San Francisco Chronicle - March 24, 2009
Tennessee industry leaders offer ideas to cut costs, improve access
The Tennessean - March 20, 2009
Iowa Senate approves healthcare bill
Des Moines Register - March 20, 2009
Grassley urges primary healthcare
Wall Street Journal - March 20, 2009
Bill advances to study single-payer healthcare in Colorado
AP/USA Today - March 19, 2009
Dire warnings as Georgia House OKs budget
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - March 20, 2009

Webcasts/Audio conferences
April 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Joint Replacement
April 28: Compensation Packages to Recruit and Retain Physicians in Today's Economy
April 29: Marketing Neurosciences: Service Line Strategies for Marketers
May 12: Service Lines Strategies Workshop: Cardiovascular Physician Alignment
On Demand: 5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Hospital
From HealthLeaders Magazine
A Shifting Burden
High deductibles are spreading beyond the consumer-driven health plan niche—and helping change the way patients relate to providers. Consumer-driven health plans remain a relatively small percentage of the health plan market—but the premise behind CDHPs is spreading. [Read More]
The Big Switch
Many health plans are struggling to retain members who retire or lose group coverage, but there are steps that payers can take to improve conversion. [
Read More]
Listen Up
Standing Out During Difficult Times

Jeff Levin-Scherz, MD, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, talks about how health plans can add value in this difficult time. [Listen Now]
Sponsor Health Plan Insider

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at lbrown@healthleadersmedia.com or call 781.639.1872.
Resources From HCPro

Compare your organization against national averages.
Learn how increased collaboration between providers and managed care payers has the potential to reduce costs, improve processes, and enhance patient care.
Discover how to integrate wellness into your DM programs.
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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