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Health Insurers, Employers Could Play Key Roles in Tackling Healthcare Disparities
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

There are two stakeholders who hold enormous potential in reducing (or eliminating) racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare—and they're not physicians, nurses, or policymakers. Health insurers and employers have an opportunity to improve patient outcomes. This is more than a moral issue. By focusing on racial and ethnic disparities, there is also an opportunity to lower long-range health costs. [Read More]
  August 12, 2009

Editor's Picks
Insurers' Rating Outlooks Take Tumble Because of Health Reform
Health insurance companies are concerned that healthcare reform could damage their business, but the mere talk of reform is also negatively affecting health insurers. In light of potential healthcare reform proposals, Fitch Ratings recently revised the Rating Outlook of six health insurers from Stable to Negative while maintaining six other insurers as Negative. Fitch plans to address the ratings again after a healthcare reform package is finalized. [Read More]
HHS Fires up Rhetoric Against Health Insurance Industry
The Obama administration came out swinging in a new HHS memo that charges that health insurers are discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions. The report cites a Commonwealth Fund survey that found that 12.6 million non-elderly adults—36% of those who tried to buy insurance on the private market—were discriminated against because an insurance company said they had a pre-existing condition, charged them a higher premium, or refused to cover their condition. Another Commonwealth Fund survey this year found 1 in 10 people with cancer said they could not get health coverage, and 6% said they lost their coverage because of their diagnosis, the HHS memo stated. [Read More]
Senate Finance Committee's Cooperatives Can't Replace Public Option
Consumer health cooperatives, seen as an alternative to a public insurance option, won't be able to take on insurance companies, according to Yale professor Jacob Hacker, one of the leading public plan advocates. Hacker says health cooperatives are merely a way to kill the public plan, which health insurers worry could destroy their industry. [Read More]
Senate's Proposed Employer Mandate has 'Deep Flaws'
An employer mandate offered by the Senate Finance Committee would cause employers to not hire lower-wage earners, minorities, women, and disabled workers, according to a Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis. The Senate Finance Committee's proposal would require employers with 50 or more employees to either offer health insurance or pay the average subsidy cost per person for all employees who purchase coverage through a new health insurance exchange and qualify for a subsidy because their family income is below 300% of the poverty line. [Read More]
Could A Massachusetts-Style Individual Mandate Work Across the Nation?
Massachusetts managed to reduce its percentage of uninsured to 2.6% in just a few years by requiring residents to purchase health insurance, either through their employers or from an array of state-approved plans. Though the state health reform has been successful in getting more people insured, there are questions about whether a similar plan could work in other parts of the country—especially areas that are not as wealthy or as liberal. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Prevention May Prove Costly
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009
Top insurance lobbyist: August key in health drive
AP/Yahoo News, August 11, 2009
BCBS Companies Took Loss in 2008
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2009
Obama faces 'scare tactics' head-on
Washington Post, August 12, 2009
Democrats weigh the calculus of public insurance
Washington Post, August 7, 2009
Connecticut regulators OK rate hikes lower than Anthem sought
Hartford Courant, August 7, 2009
Michigan AG, Blue Cross agree to rate hike for 163,000
Detroit Free Press, August 7, 2009
Utah Tests Health Exchange Idea
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 12, 2009
France fights universal care's high cost
Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2009

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