Daily Health Care News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Managed Care

UnitedHealth's 1Q Profit Tumbles 8 Percent
Thursday, April 17, 2014; Source: Associated Press
UnitedHealth Group's first-quarter net income slid 8 percent as funding cuts to a key product and costs imposed by the health care overhaul dented the health insurer's performance.

Despite Early ACA Costs, UnitedHealth Will Expand Obamacare Business In 2015
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 9:59 am ET; Source: Forbes
The nation’s largest health insurance company, UnitedHealth Group, said its first-quarter earnings dipped slightly due to costs and fees related to the Affordable Care Act, but the company sees growth from the law and is looking to expand its offerings on government-run exchanges next year.

The Nation’s Largest Insurer Thinks Obamacare Exchanges are Doing Just Fine
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:13 am ET; Source: The Washington Post
After taking a pretty cautious approach to the launch of the health insurance marketplaces in 2014, the nation’s largest insurer said it’s looking to expand its Obamacare footprint in 2015.

The Census Bureau Picked a Bad Time to Change How It Counts the Uninsured
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 1:35 pm ET; Source: The Wire
This is the kind of announcement every Obamacare enrollment truther has been waiting for — the Census Bureau is changing the questions it asks about health insurance, to the point that the data won't be comparable to past years, according to the New York Times.

There's A Big Difference Between States Embracing Obamacare And Those Who Aren't
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:03 am ET; Source: Business Insider
The rate of uninsured is dropping significantly more in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges and have expanded the federal Medicaid program, according to a new survey from Gallup released Wednesday morning.

Price Transparency Stinks in Health Care. Here’s How the Industry Wants to Change That.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 10:00 am ET; Source: The Washington Post
There's been much written in the past year about just how hard it is to get a simple price for a basic health-care procedure.

Will Slowdown in Health-Care Spending Growth Persist?
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8:50 am ET; Source: The Wall Street Journal
One of the biggest questions hovering over the federal budget – and, indeed, over the U.S. economy – is whether the recent slowdown in the pace of health-care spending growth will persist.

Duals Demonstrations Get Started as Health Plans Plot How to Capture Market
Thursday, April 17, 2014; Source: AIS Health
The “final frontier” of untapped membership is how one industry insider describes the dual-eligibles market.

Obamacare Effects are Bigger than Expected, Poll Finds
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: Los Angeles Times
President Obama's health law has led to an even greater increase in health coverage than previously estimated, according to new Gallup survey data, which suggests that about 12 million previously uninsured Americans have gained coverage since last fall.

More Encouraging Numbers About Obamacare, Usual Caveats Apply
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: New Republic
We have some new information about Obamacare’s impact.

More Proof That American Health Care Prices Are Sky-High
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 9:59 am ET; Source: Huffington Post
As anyone who's ever paid a health insurance premium or a hospital bill knows, medical care is expensive. What Americans may not know is that residents of other countries don't pay nearly as much for the same things.

Obamacare Regular Enrollment Closes for 2014 Health Plans
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Yesterday was the last day of a two-week health-law extension for hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t finish their enrollment by March 31, the official deadline to sign up for a federally subsidized insurance plan in 2014.

Defend 'Obamacare' Unabashedly, Some Democrats Say
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: Associated Press
With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

D.C. Again Extends Deadline to Enroll in Health Plans
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 4:25 pm ET; Source: CBS DC
More than 2,000 District of Columbia residents either enrolled in a health insurance plan or were found to be eligible for Medicaid after the official end of open enrollment on March 31, but a spike in call volume this week led to another extension of the deadline, officials said Wednesday.

Accountable Care Organizations, Medical Homes

Who Should Control ACOs, Primary Care Doctors or Hospitals?
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 11:42 am ET; Source: The Incidental Economist
The ACA is reducing the number of uninsured.

Consumer-Driven Healthcare

Americans Increasingly Prefer Democrats on Healthcare: Reuters/Ipsos Poll
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 6:08 pm ET; Source: Reuters
Americans increasingly think Democrats have a better plan for healthcare than Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after the White House announced that more people than expected had signed up for the "Obamacare" health plan.


Employers are Shifting the Burden of Health Care to Retirees
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 12:11 pm ET; Source: Yahoo Finance
If you expect your employer to help cover the cost of your healthcare in retirement, you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Policy and Regulatory

This Just In: Uninsured in Red States Getting Shaft From Lawmakers
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: New Republic
Gallup polling is offering yet another snapshot of Obamacare’s progress.

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare Kept Paying Indicted, Sanctioned Doctors
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 12:00 pm ET; Source: NPR
In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare.

GOP Governors Hit Obama Administration on Medicare Advantage Rates
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 7:03 pm ET; Source: The Foundry
Three Republican governors yesterday blasted President Barack Obama over changes to next year’s Medicare Advantage rates, writing in a letter that the Obama administration’s recent rate announcement was “little more than political theater.”

Uninsured Rate Drops More In States That Expanded Medicaid, Run Own Exchanges
Wednesday, April 16, 2014; Source: Sioux City Journal
States that have expanded Medicaid and opened their own exchanges have seen a higher rate of decline in the number of uninsured, compared with other states, a new poll show.

Medicaid Expansion Stalled — But Not Dead — In Missouri Legislature
Thursday, April 17, 2014; Source: KSMU
Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Missouri continue to work on swaying opponents in the General Assembly over to their side.