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Health Reform

Health Insurance Benefits: Can You Have It Your Way?

August 19, 2014 by Nicole Fisher

As the percentage of large employers that consider a shift to defined contribution and/or private exchange increases, the number of options – and flexibility in those options – must also increase. Consideration for those options rose last year from 14% to 18% among large employers (500+ employees).[read more]

Andre Blackman: Sustain or Die Manifesto [PODCAST]

August 18, 2014 by Janet Kennedy

Andre Blackman

Andre Blackman is an influential and connected agent of change/innovation within the health care community. He is very passionate about the intersection of media, technology and useful innovative concepts as it relates to the improvement of population and systemic health.[read more]

Scrutinizing Adherence Must Not Be Shortsighted

August 17, 2014 by Kenneth Thorpe

Medicare / shutterstock

Considering how critical taking medications as prescribed is to managing chronic diseases effectively, it should be no surprise that improving patient adherence to medicines can deliver great value. This truth makes the conclusions of an article in Health Affairs’ about declining medication adherence rates in Medicare Part D particularly troubling.[read more]

Health Wonk Review: August Recess Edition

August 16, 2014 by Brad Wright

Today, it is my distinct pleasure to host the month’s only issue of the Health Wonk Review. Much like Congress, we academics and policy wonks tend to slow down our work considerably in the summer months. And yet, much unlike Congress, even then we are able to get at least something done.[read more]

IT Strategy for Health Plans: Interview with ikaSystems CEO Joe Marabito

August 11, 2014 by David E Williams

Joe Marabito

This is the transcript of my recent podcast interview with ikaSystems President and CEO, Joe Marabito, in which we discuss the impact of the ACA rollout on health plan IT needs over the past year; the impact of delayed ICD-10 rollout; the unique challenges facing Medicare Advantage, Medicaid managed care and commercial plans, and other topics.[read more]

Evidence Mounts That Health Insurance Is Necessary, But Not Sufficient for Good Health

August 11, 2014 by Brad Wright

health insurance / shutterstock

Failing to demonstrate that being insured improves health is not synonymous with health insurance having no value or no role in the process. That is, health insurance may very well be a necessary factor in producing better health, albeit not one sufficient to produce it in its own right. Let me explain.[read more]

Need Help Meeting the 5% "Patient Use" Stage 2 MU Requirement?

August 8, 2014 by Steve Wilkins

Meaningful Use Stage 2

A lot of physicians are having problems meeting Meaningful Use Stage 2, particularly the requirement which calls for 5% of patients to view/download/or transmit their online, personal health information. Even large organizations like the Mayo Clinic have struggled to get 5% of them to access their personal information.[read more]

Health Insurance Premium Increases in Massachusetts

August 6, 2014 by David E Williams

rising costs / shutterstock

Last week, I described how the implementation of Obamacare caused one small business’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts premium to jump by 29 percent for the upcoming renewal. I've since heard from two other BCBS MA customers who were experiencing big premium hikes[read more]

Osteopathic Medical Schools Are Increasing the Numbers of Quality Grads

August 3, 2014 by Michael Douglas

osteopath / shutterstock

As the ACA continues its labyrinthine course into the nation’s political boilerplate, talk almost always returns to the issue of primary care supply for the demand that many healthcare policy pundits assert that will occur as a by-product of the legislation. Now doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO’s) are getting a bigger share of the spotlight.[read more]

Studies Show ACOs Are Succeeding in 2014

August 3, 2014 by Abby Norman

Accountable Care Organizations / shutterstock

With over 10 million patients covered by Obamacare, the pressure is on for hospitals to acquire ACO status. ACOs were a hot topic of conversation at the beginning of the year, when 15 million patients had coverage under an ACO in the U.S. Now, midyear, a new report shows that the number has jumped up to over 20.5 million.[read more]

Narrow Networks: Get Used to It

August 1, 2014 by David E Williams

photo: coolmonfrere via photopin cc

Many health plans unveiled “narrow network” plans recently as part of the Affordable Care Act. Predictably, some members are upset, but in my view narrow networks have become a crucial part of healthcare affordability and need to be maintained.[read more]

ACA Rollout Hits Some Massachusetts Businesses Harder Than Expected

July 30, 2014 by David E Williams

Massachusetts / shutterstock

Like many, I’ve been surprised that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has had such an impact on Massachusetts. But somehow Massachusetts screwed up the rollout of the Obamacare exchange, which is costing $100 million to fix, and at least some Massachusetts small businesses are getting hit with big rate hikes as they renew.[read more]