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Short-Term Plans May Short-Change Purchasers

The short-term health insurance plans that the administration proposes making more available to consumers as an alternative to comprehensive health insurance that meets Affordable Care Act coverage requirements may leave consumers with greater out-of-pocket costs and less coverage for some critical services. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of available short-term, limited duration plans in 10 markets across the country, those plans: often do not cover mental health and substance abuse services and outpatient prescription drugs may turn down individuals or charge them higher premiums based on age, gender, or health status, including pre-existing conditions require greater cost-sharing by [&hellip

ACA Has Increased Primary Care Utilization

A new study found that the increase in the number of insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased utilization of primary health care services. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, primary care utilization rose 3.8 percent, mammograms 1.5 percent, HIV tests 2.1 percent, and flu shots 1.9 percent over a three-year period.  The study suggests that preventive care increased between 17 and 50 percent. The study attributes all of the gains to improved access to private insurance and none to Medicaid expansion. These results are based on self-reported [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission held two days of public meetings in Washington, D.C. During the sessions MedPAC, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, addressed the following subjects: a Medicare Advantage status report a Medicare prescription drug program (Part D) status report hospital inpatient and outpatient payments physician payments ambulatory surgical center, dialysis center, and hospice payments post-acute care facility payments the hospital readmissions reduction program telehealth accountable care organizations Go here to see the issue briefs and presentations used during the meetings

NAUH Seeks Action on Medicaid DSH, 340B

The National Association of Urban Hospitals has written to leaders of the House and Senate asking them to reverse implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (Medicaid DSH) allotments to state and to block implementation of a federal regulation that would reduce Medicare payments to qualified participants in the section 340B prescription drug discount program by 28 percent.  See NAUH’s letter here

Bill Seeks to Block 340B Cut

Legislation introduced in Congress would block the attempt by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to slash $1.6 billion in annual payments to hospitals for prescription drugs for outpatients prescribed through the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program. Earlier this month CMS finalized its plan to reduce controversial 340B payments and shift $1.6 billion in savings into Medicare provider payments.  If adopted, the bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) would prevent the reduction of 340B payments, which are made to hospitals that care for especially large proportions of low-income patients. The 340B [&hellip

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