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What Meaningful Use Means for Health Plans
Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media

When Congress passed the HITECH Act last year and changed how physicians, hospitals, and most of the healthcare industry must approach the adoption of electronic health records, health plans weren't a primary target of the legislation. But that doesn't mean the soon-to-be released final definition of meaningful use won't affect how insurers do business. [Read More]
  June 23, 2010

Editor's Picks
President Obama Says Insurers Need to Justify Premium Increases
After meeting with top insurance industry officials and several state insurance commissioners on Tuesday, President Barack Obama unveiled a package of interim final rules that make up what the administration calls a Patients' Bill of Rights. The rules will implement various insurance reforms mandated by the new law and will take effect 60 days after publication in the June 28 Federal Register. [Read More]
Individual Health Insurance Market Buffeted by Higher Premium Costs
Just as the debate on healthcare reform was coming to a close on Capitol Hill this spring, individuals who purchase their own health insurance were finding that most recent requests for premium increases from their insurers were averaging 20% nationwide, according to a new survey released Monday by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. While most said they paid the increase, 16% said they switched plans—either purchasing a less expensive policy from the current insurer or switching companies, according to survey. [Read More]
Uninsured Rate Up Slightly in 2009, CDC Says
In 2009, the last full year before healthcare reform legislation went into effect, 15.4%—or about 46.3 million Americans—had no healthcare insurance, according to a Centers for Disease Control survey released Wednesday. This rate is slightly up (from 14.7% or 43.8 million Americans) from 2008. The percentage of adults aged 18 to 64 years who lacked coverage at the time of contact by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics increased from 19.7% in 2008 to 21.1% in 2009. [Read More]
Rating system for Medicare Advantage plans is flawed; changes are planned
About 47 million people are in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled; nearly a quarter of them are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans offered by insurance companies as alternatives to the traditional program. A few years ago, federal officials began rating these plans using a scale of one to five stars. Under the new healthcare overhaul law, the ratings will be used for the first time to award bonuses potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the best plans. [Read More]

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Managed Care Headlines
Four unlicensed health insurers marketing in Connecticut
Hartford Courant, June 23, 2010
Minnesota will not expand Medicaid coverage until 2014
Reuters, June 23, 2010
CIGNA enlists East Hartford firm to fight hospital readmissions
Hartford Courant, June 23, 2010
New York passes bill to make insurers pay for autism care
New York Times, June 23, 2010

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Preventing Missed Revenue Opportunities

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Preparing for Parity

The national mental health parity law is expected to serve millions of Americans, but there is much debate about how it will be carried out. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Taking On the Cost Drivers

While most expense categories are unavoidable, there are ways to reduce costs. [Read More]
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