Daily Health Care News


The Daily News Archive lists articles that have been posted within the past seven calendar days. You can filter the articles by category by using the navigation at the left.

Apr 9, 2014 - Apr 16, 2014

Insurers Wanting Medicaid Makes WellCare Target: Real M&A
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 9:41 am ET; Source: Bloomberg
For WellCare Health Plans Inc., Medicare and Medicaid are the ticket to a takeover.

CBO: Obamacare Will Cost Less Than Projected, Cover 12 Million Uninsured People This Year
Monday, April 14, 2014, 12:59 pm ET; Source: Huffington Post
The Congressional Budget Office has released updated estimates on the Affordable Care Act's impact on both the budget and the health insurance industry.

Obamacare Launch 'Terribly Flawed': Sebelius
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 1:39 pm ET; Source: Associated Press
The Obama administration's timeline for having ready the new health care law's online sign-up system "was just flat out wrong," outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that aired Sunday.

Push by Insurers on Obamacare Premiums Tops Burwell Challenges
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:00 am ET; Source: Bloomberg
WellPoint Inc., the biggest commercial insurer in the health law's exchanges, said last month it may seek "double-digit plus" premium increases for 2015.

Obamacare 2015 Rate Hikes May Soon Come Into View
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 10:18 am ET; Source: Forbes
Beginning this week, when health insurance companies begin reporting their first quarter earnings, consumers and investors will begin to know whether — and possibly how much — premiums will rise in 2015 for plans sold on marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare Haters Aren't Mysterious
Monday, April 14, 2014, 5:53 pm ET; Source: Bloomberg View
The Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations.

Obamacare Not Exactly a Home Run, According to Poll
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Main Street
As we enter the beginning of baseball season, one thing we know for certain - Obamacare did not lead off with a home run.

Survey: Health Insurance Enrollment In California More Complex Than Anticipated
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 8:07 am ET; Source: Kaiser Health News
Newly insured Californians felt relieved after signing up for health coverage but encountered numerous obstacles with technology and communication during the enrollment process, according to a report released Monday by the California HealthCare Foundation.

Health Spending Growth: Known Knowns and Unknowns
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 11:00 am ET; Source: The Incidental Economist
In her Brookings paper on health care spending growth Louise Sheiner’s makes (or suggests) several points that probably receive insufficient emphasis.

The ACA Did Not Cause the Slowdown in Spending—But It May be Contributing to the Recent Uptick
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:00 am ET; Source: The Incidental Economist
Galen Benshoof wrote an excellent post last month about how people erroneously blame the ACA for the spread of high-deductible health plans.

More U.S. Consumers are Seeking Medical Care, Report Shows
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Los Angeles Times
A historic slowdown in U.S. healthcare spending in recent years may be drawing to a close.

Focus On Marketplace Enrollment Overlooks Millions Who Bought Private Insurance
Tuesday, April 15, 2014; Source: Kaiser Health News
Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the health care law itself, the answer is exceedingly complicated.

U.S. Healthcare Usage and Spending Resumes Rise in 2013 –Report
Tuesday, April 15, 2014; Source: Reuters
Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading healthcare information company.

For the Working Poor, New Health Premiums Can Be a Burden
Sunday, April 13, 2014; Source: Los Angeles Times
For nearly two decades, Barbara Garnaus maintained a modest, delicate life balance: keeping her part-time Orange County school district job and juggling her bills and credit card debt.

With New Health Law, Insurers Target Diabetics
Monday, April 14, 2014, 7:13 am ET; Source: Associated Press
As hundreds of thousands of diabetics get health coverage under the federal law, insurance companies are aggressively targeting this glut of new patients, who are expensive to treat and often lax in taking medications and following their diet.

Odd-Hour Workers Face Loss of Employer Health Plans
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 7:17 pm ET; Source: The Wall Street Journal
Susan Caspersen was in a hospital in Akron, Ohio, last November recovering from an emergency appendectomy when she got some unwelcome news: as of Jan. 1, 2014, she would no longer be eligible for the health-insurance plan offered by her employer, food-service giant Sodexo USA.

Consumers Considering Different Health Plans Find Little Info About Abortion Coverage
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: The Washington Post
When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in agreement on one thing: Coverage details need to be clearer.

Weakness Seen in WellCare Health Plans (WCG): Stock Falls 5.5%
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Zacks
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. saw a big move in the last trading session, as the company’s shares fell by nearly 6% on the day.

More Good News on Obamacare, Just When Democrats Need It
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Today the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its latest Obamacare report card, and for supporters of the law, the news is good: CBO now projects that over 10 years the law will cover more people—25 million, up from 24 million—and cost a lot less—$104 billion less—than it had previously forecast.

CBO Slightly Lowers U.S. Deficit Estimates as Health Subsidies Fall
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Reuters
Health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will cost slightly less than previously thought, helping to slow down the forecast growth of U.S. deficits over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.

Preventive Care Without Cost-Sharing
Monday, April 14, 2014; Source: Kiplinger
All health insurance policies that were issued after March 23, 2010, when the health-care law was signed, must provide certain preventive care without being subject to the policy’s deductible or copayments.

Medicare Reversed Payment Cuts, And Not Many are Happy About It
Monday, April 14, 2014, 5:12 pm ET; Source: The Washington Post
Medicare’s recent reversal of a proposed payment cut to private health plans – the second such reversal in two years – hasn’t won a lot of rave reviews.

Prices Soaring for Specialty Drugs, Researchers Find
Tuesday, April 15, 2014; Source: The New York Times
Even as the cost of prescription drugs has plummeted for many Americans, a small slice of the population is being asked to shoulder more and more of the cost of expensive treatments for diseases like cancer and hepatitis C, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a major drug research firm.

Express Scripts' Obamacare Data: What You Need to Know
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 7:00 pm ET; Source: The Motley Fool
Investors interested in Obamacare certainly got a lot of news this past week.

RAND’s Estimates Could Rewrite the Enrollment Story
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: The Incidental Economist
If RAND’s latest report is accurate, the uninsured rate among 18-64 year old adults in the United States fell by 23 percent—from 20.5 percent to 15.8 percent—between September 2013 and March 2014.

Obama Administration Retreats On Private Medicare Rate Cuts
Tuesday, April 08, 2014; Source: Kaiser Health News
Under intense, bipartisan political pressure, the Obama administration backed down for the second year in a row on proposed payment cuts for insurance companies that offer private plans to Medicare members.

The Number of Uninsured Is Dropping, but Not Thanks to Obamacare Exchanges
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: The Wire
Two new surveys clearly show that the number of people who lack health insurance in the United States has dropped — but largely not because people have enrolled in Obamacare exchanges.

RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare's Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals
Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 12:16 am ET; Source: Forbes
Last week, I wrote about an article in the Los Angeles Times, on a then-as-yet unpublished report from the RAND Corporation.

Two New Studies Raise Red Flags on Obamacare
Thursday, April 10, 2014; Source: The Fiscal Times
Barack Obama wasted little time last week declaring victory as the deadline for enrollment in Affordable Care Act exchanges expired – well, more or less, anyway.

Wave Of Newly Insured Patients Strains Oregon Health Plan
Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 5:02 pm ET; Source: NPR
Millions of Americans who didn't have health insurance last year now do because of the Affordable Care Act.

VT Gov. Shumlin Touts Improving Transparency, But Won't Release Health Plan, Schedule
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: Daily Report
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says a government website that features budget, contract, grant and other information has helped improve the state's grade for transparency.

Why Delaware’s Health-Care Premiums Have Increased by 100%
Tuesday, April 08, 2014; Source: FOX Business
The evidence of insurance premiums spiking under the Affordable Care Act continues to mount, with new research from Morgan Stanley showing the highest increases in the individual and group markets in years.

How Obamacare Lowers The Price Of Your Car Insurance
Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 12:00 am ET; Source: Forbes
The cost of automobile insurance, workers’ compensation coverage and general business liability insurance could drop by as much as 5% thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

One Way to Pay for Health-Care Costs in Retirement
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: The Washington Post
There is quite a bit of research that highlights the danger of financial shortfalls in retirement faced by many Americans.

It’s Official: No Deductible Caps in Small-Business Health Plans
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 7:00 am ET; Source: The New York Times
Tucked inside the so-called Medicare “doc fix” bill — must-pass legislation to forestall steep cuts in payments to doctors — that President Obama recently signed was a separate provision that removed restrictions on deductibles in small-business health plans.

High Drug Prices Skewing Payouts to Some Physicians
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 7:30 am ET; Source: Modern Healthcare
Ophthalmologists are among the highest paid specialists by Medicare—a finding already drawing scrutiny from policymakers and watchdogs worried about waste and overuse.

The Case Against Obamacare Just Took Another Blow
Tuesday, April 08, 2014; Source: New Republic
The big Obamacare news on Tuesday involved a pretty big number: 9.3 million.

Why Bobby Jindal’s Health Plan Is an Epic Fail
Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 11:59 am ET; Source: The Nation
As Christie Watch noted last month, as unlikely as it might seem, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is hoping to take advantage of Chris Christie’s troubles to emerge as a leading candidate for the GOP nomination.

House GOP: We'll Have That Obamacare Alternative Soon! Really!
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: New Republic
You know that Obamacare alternative, the one that House Republicans promised to unveil in April?

Medicare Millionaires Emerge in Data on Doctor Payments
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Medicare paid almost 4,000 doctors and medical providers more than $1 million apiece in 2012, including seven who received more than $10 million.

Cost of Drugs Used by Medicare Doctors Can Vary Greatly by Region, Analysis Finds
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: The Washington Post
An analysis of government data released Wednesday shows that the cost of drugs administered by doctors accounts for a growing piece of Medicare’s spending and varies widely from region to region in the United States, raising questions about whether some physicians may be misusing the pharmaceuticals.

How Severe an Access Problem do Medicaid Enrollees Face?
Tuesday, April 08, 2014; Source: Academy Health
Appointment audit studies, like the one I wrote about yesterday, have limitations.

Healthcare.gov Still Glitchy For Medicaid Enrollees
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 10:00 am ET; Source: Nextgov
The technology behind a huge part of Obamacare's efforts to expand insurance coverage—the part aimed at low-income Americans—remains far from fixed, and the glitches are keeping some of the nation's most vulnerable patients from getting insured.

LePage Vetoes Medicaid Expansion, Calls the Effort ‘Ruinous’ for Maine’s Future
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: Bangor Daily News
As expected, Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers and dramatically overhaul the administration of the program by outsourcing it to managed care organizations.

Pharmacy Managers: 43% of Exchange Enrollees Had Drug Coverage Before Current Plan
Thursday, April 10, 2014; Source: National Review Online
You’ve heard a lot of discussion of how many of those who signed up for Obamacare exchanges were previously uninsured, and how many had insurance, had their plan canceled, and had to sign up for a new one.

Report: Exchanges Yield More Specialty Drug Claims
Wednesday, April 09, 2014; Source: Associated Press
Patients from the health care overhaul's new insurance exchanges have been more likely to use expensive specialty drugs for chronic conditions, according to data from the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager.