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AMA: Health Insurance Concentration in Urban Areas Threatens Competition

Too much market share by insurers in urban areas can inhibit competition, and according to the American Medical Association, there is too little competition among insurers in too many urban markets today. According to a new AMA study, 69 percent of 389 metropolitan statistical area-level markets are “highly concentrated” in 89 percent of MSAs, at least one insurer issues at least 30 percent of commercial health insurance policies in 43 percent of urban MSAs, a single insurer owns at least 50 percent of the market In a statement accompanying release of the report, an AMA spokesperson explained that After years [&hellip

Survey Says: More Than One in Four Underinsured

28 percent of insured adults under the age of 64 were uninsured in 2016, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey. The survey also found that: More than half of the uninsured are insured through their employer. Nearly one in four insured through their employer are underinsured. More than one in four Medicaid recipients were underinsured. Half of the underinsured report problems paying their medical bills. Individuals with higher deductibles are more likely to report problems paying their medical bills. More than 45 percent of the underinsured report skipping care they need because of cost. Low-income people and those with chronic [&hellip

Despite Uncertainty, States Plan to Raise Medicaid Rates

Even though events in Washington leave the future of Medicaid unclear, 44 states still intend to raise at least some of their Medicaid rates in 2018. Inpatient payments to hospitals are not among the major targets of the planned rate increases:  only 17 states plan to increase Medicaid inpatients payments while the others plan to keep those rates as they are or even reduce them. Learn more about trends in Medicaid enrollment, spending, and rates in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of state Medicaid programs, the results of which can be found here

Braving the Unknown, States Increase Medicaid Benefits

Despite the prospect of Congress and the administration enacting major reductions of federal Medicaid spending as part of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, more than half the states expanded their Medicaid programs in 2017 and many plan to do so in 2018 as well. In all, 26 states expanded or enhanced Medicaid benefits this year while 17 plan to do so next year.  Most of the changes involve enhancing mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Learn more about expanded Medicaid benefits in the face of anticipated reductions in Medicaid spending in this Healthcare Finance News report

Helping With Homelessness Reduces ER Costs

Hospitals are finding that helping homeless, frequent emergency room visitors find housing can reduce their unreimbursed ER costs. Throughout the country, hospitals are investing money – in some cases, millions of dollars – in housing programs for the homeless.  What they are finding when they do so is that the stability of reliable housing – coupled with supportive social services – appears to be reducing the frequency with which such individuals appear in their ERs. Examples of such programs can be found in a number of urban areas:  Sacramento, Orlando, Portland, New York City, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Learn more [&hellip

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