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Four Ways to Get More Young Adults Health Coverage
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Health insurers know the importance of signing up so-called "young invincibles" to their health plans, but many of these sought-after individuals are not interested—either because they can't afford health insurance or they simply think they don't need coverage. Here are four ways that health insurers and policymakers can change that trend. [Read More]
  September 2, 2009

Editor's Picks
Health Coverage Does Not Protect Against Incurring Medical Debt
Don't think that merely insuring more Americans will resolve the nation's medical debt problem. A survey this week found that one in seven non-elderly adults in California have healthcare bills more than $2,000, and two-thirds of those people have health insurance. The survey pointed to high-deductible health plans as one reason for the debt. Among California adults who said they had employment-based health insurance for the entire year, 7.2% reported having high-deductible coverage without a health savings account, and 3.5% had a high-deductible plan with a health savings account, which is also known as a consumer-directed health plan. [Read More]
UnitedHealth discounts some drug copays
While lawmakers fight over healthcare reform, another movement is quietly gaining momentum in private insurance. UnitedHealth Group Inc., is the latest to expand its value-based insurance design (VBID) offerings by lowering copays for certain asthma drugs and antidepressants. The theory behind VBID is that charging lower or no copays for specific drugs for people who need them the most will increase patients' medication compliance. At that point, there are no cost barriers for patients and they are more apt to remain on their prescribed medications. UnitedHealth, which launched another VBID-inspired product (Diabetes Health Plan) earlier this year, will soon offer $20 discounts off monthly copays for members who refill certain prescriptions within about 30 days after the last prescription runs out. [Read More]
Health insurers set up shop at malls
As readers of my column may remember, I wrote about health insurance companies opening storefronts as a way to reach out to prospective and current members last year. The Wall Street Journal wrote this week about how Humana, Aetna, and Health Net are three examples of companies going the retail route. But will people actually visit the storefronts? McKinsey & Co. released a survey in January that found only 1% of those interviewed bought health insurance at retail stores, which shows that if health insurer storefronts are to be successful, the industry will need to heavily promote the benefits of these retail spaces. [Read More]
Can Healthcare Reform Become Reality Without Sen. Kennedy?
With the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, many are questioning if meaningful healthcare reform will actually happen this year. Many of the leaders on Capitol Hill who worked with Kennedy over the years praised him for his bipartisan efforts to get healthcare legislation through. Bipartisanship has been lacking while Kennedy has been out of the Capitol during most of the healthcare debate and the acrimony has reached even higher levels recently. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Healthcare Costs Expected to Rise 10.5% in Next 12 Months
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2009
Latest CBO Estimates Show Need to Tackle Rising Healthcare Costs
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2009
House Bill Would Balance Medicare Part D Benefit Cost Increases with Lower Drug Costs
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 1, 2009
Sebelius: Health Reform Will Reduce Medicare Costs, Coverage Threats
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 28, 2009
How competitive is the health insurance market?
Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009
Massachusetts devises new health coverage for legal immigrants
Boston Globe, September 1, 2009
Dealing with being the healthcare villains
The New York Times, August 28, 2009

Webcasts/Audio conferences
On Demand: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Gastroenterology
On Demand: Advanced Service Line Marketing: New Orthopedics Growth Strategies
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care

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Listen Up
Activating Members in Their Health

Bryce Williams, director of prevention and wellness at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in Boston, discusses MyBlueHealth and how to activate members to take better care of their health. [Sponsored by Emdeon] [Listen Now]
Health Forum
Unleash the Power of the Consumer to Fix Healthcare

A significant disconnect exists in our current framework that disenfranchises the individual from the financial ramifications of their day-to-day lifestyle and health-related decisions. Add to this the rich benefits offered by employers fueled by its tax advantages and you have a formula that has caused the employee to be removed and disengaged from the actual cost of providing their care. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Media
Let's Pay Attention to Medication Use in the Reform Debate

In the midst of the healthcare reform debate, one topic seems to be missing: Addressing the problem of patients who fail to take their medications as prescribed by their physicians. Many barriers, New England Healthcare Institute noted, exist blocking better medication adherence—cost, side effects, challenges of managing multiple prescriptions, patients' understanding of their disease, forgetfulness, cultural and belief systems, imperfect drug regimens, patients' ability to navigate the health care system, cognitive impairments, or a reduced sense of urgency because of a lack of symptoms. [Read More]
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Resources From HCPro

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