longtermcare

Logo

March 26, 2024

The Looming Election Year Debate Over The Affordable Care Act This article captures the big divide between advocates and detractors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Good links to various studies. Proponents say that over 21 million are enrolled in the Exchanges and a total of about 45 million gained coverage including Medicaid expansion.  Opponents argue costs have been huge — 36,798 per additional private insurance enrollee and 20,739 per additional non-group enrollee.  This is well above original estimates. Further, critics say insurers have benefited disproportionately. Here is my Republican defense of the ACA – as strange as that sounds. I also am dubious of the study that says 3 in 4 (73%) U.S. adults “report that in one way or another the healthcare system is failing to meeting their needs.”  Other surveys would suggest general contentment with their coverage and insurer. #healthcare #healthcarereform #aca #obamacare #exchanges #medicaid  Link to

Read More »
Logo

March 25, 2024

Biden Signs Funding Bill President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion spending package on Saturday, avoiding a government shutdown. The package includes funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Senate passed the measure 74-24, technically after the deadline. Additional article: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/spending-bill-passes-hhs-funding (Some articles may require a subscription.) #governmentshutdown #spending #healthcare Link to Article Change Ready To Turn On Last Major Products Involving Claims UnitedHealth Group said that its largest clearinghouse, called Relay Exchange, will be back online this weekend.  Further, after testing by clients, $14 billion in medical claims will be processed through a system. It also unveiled a timeline for remaining products to come online – roughly through mid-April. Another article speaks to a new bill that would open up funding during cyberattacks if providers have met certain cyber standards. As well, the American Hospital Association (AHA) is opposing proposals that would tie cyber standards

Read More »

The Audacity of Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is known as a bold entrepreneur — a smart-thinking guy who cuts through all the nonsense to come up with the right solution. But how audacious was he at a recent White House forum when he suggested that federal and state programs as well as employers essentially cut the top three pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) out of the pharmacy spending equation altogether in favor of a transparent model? However difficult in the short term, I believe the provocative Cuban has the right answer and wants to aggressively go after it. The entrepreneur is a recent entrant into the world of healthcare. His Cost Plus Drug Company (CPD or Cost Plus) is taking the nation by storm by showing how going direct to the manufacturer — and then to the consumer — can make money and lower costs. He would argue it is not a new model in free

Read More »
Logo

March 22, 2024

Senate Has Funding Bill After House Passage The Senate will need to pass a huge funding bill before midnight Friday to avert a government shutdown.  The House passed the bill, which includes healthcare funding, on a vote of  286-to-134 (112 Republicans and 22 Democrats voted against the bill). One conservative House member has called for the ouster of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-LA, who hails from the Freedom Caucus.  She says she has support from folks, but the caucus and some Democrats do not want to see more chaos. The GOP hold on the House will be razor-thin with two early retirements. #governmentshutdown Link to Article After Win On Prior Authorization, Providers Now To Focus On Denied Claims Medicare Advantage (MA) and other health plans watch out. Providers will now want strict rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid agencies, and state legislatures regarding claims denials. 

Read More »
Logo

March 21, 2024

Medicare To Cover GLP-1s For Specific Conditions Medicare Part D will cover obesity drugs if they are approved for specific medical conditions. For example, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, just received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce risk of stroke or heart attack in people with cardiovascular disease and who are obese/overweight. The same rule will apply to Medicaid. The decision does not make these weight-loss drugs available more broadly. Additional article on trials showing GLP-1s slowing kidney disease progress and cardiovascular events: https://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/view/ozempic-reduces-kidney-disease-progression-cardiovascular-events-by-24- Additional articles: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payers/wsj-cms-broadens-part-d-coverage-obesity-drugs and https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/medicare/109305 #weightlossdrugs #medicare #medicaid Link to Article GOP Senators Want HHS To Explain Delay In Responding To Cyberattack Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, R-LA, and member Tommy Tuberville, R-AL, have asked why it took the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) almost two weeks to respond to the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Check out my blog here on

Read More »

The Change Healthcare Cyberattack:  What It Is and Its Implications

A number of Healthcare Labyrinth blog readers asked me if I would write on the Change Healthcare cyberattack and its implications. Below is what I have culled together over the past month and my thoughts about what happened and repercussions. I will attempt to write at a high level and not get too technical – in part because details are still scarce. Overview of what happened We are a month into the Change Healthcare cyberattack. On February 21, 2024, Change Healthcare reported that it was a victim of a cyberattack. It appears that the attack was a ransomware attack by the BlackCat organization and affiliates. It is known to target the healthcare industry. Change Healthcare may have paid a ransom of as much as $22 million, but this has not been confirmed. The attackers claimed about six terabytes of PHI and PII data were stolen (this could be tens of

Read More »
Logo

March 20, 2024

Both Class-Action And Provider Lawsuits Filed Against Change Change healthcare will face both class-action lawsuits from patients as well as lawsuits from providers impacted by the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Meanwhile, provider groups, including the American Hospital association, are arguing the government and UnitedHealth Group responses have been inadequate and are pressing lawmakers to intervene with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The complaint is that advanced payments are simply not enough. Congress is also asking HHS if a bill needs to pass granting the agency flexibility in collecting advanced payments. My blog tomorrow will be a comprehensive review of the Change cyberattack. Additional articles: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/change-update-aha-financial-help-congress and https://insidehealthpolicy.com/daily-news/lawmakers-does-hhs-need-authority-allow-flexible-repayments-after-cyberattack (Some articles may require a subscription.) #changehealthcare #cyberattacks Link to Article Health Equity In MA Star Ratings Could Be Boon For Some, Hurt Others A new health equity bonus formula will come to the Medicare Advantage (MA) star program in a

Read More »
Logo

March 19, 2024

Elevance Health To Buy Kroger Specialty Pharmacy In an effort to further build out its Carelon service subsidiary, Elevance Health is buying Kroger Specialty Pharmacy.  This will add to its growing PBM offerings. Additional articles: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payers/elevance-health-acquire-kroger-specialty-pharmacy and https://www.modernhealthcare.com/finance/elevance-health-carelonrx-kroger-specialty-pharmacy (Some articles may require a subscription.) #kroger #elevancehealth Link to Article ERISA Update RFI Means Battle Lines Drawn A House committee issued a request for information to see how the employer self insurance laws (ERISA) should be updated after 50 years.  Providers of course are asking for major regulation, while employers want to ensure pre-emption of state laws. Abandoning pre-emption would add demonstrably to costs.  ERISA provides the most coverage in America and it should not be played with. #erisa #coverage #employers #providers Link to Article PBM Reform Dead For Now No deal could be reached on pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reforms despite bipartisan support in each house of Congress.  Reforms will

Read More »
Logo

March 18, 2024

Progress And Support During Change Healthcare Cyber Attack Some services have been restored by Change Healthcare and more are readying.  Change says that claim preparation software for providers will soon come back online. Electronic payments have come back online. United says it has made more than $2 billion in advanced payments from its program. United as an insurer, Highmark, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association have developed advanced payment programs for providers, but many other insurers are moving slowly on the idea. Other insurers are contracting with Change competitors to help providers file claims. They also are extending claim deadlines. Provider groups say aid is not enough. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also asking states to submit state plan amendments so they can advance Medicaid payments. Additional articles here: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/cybersecurity/change-update-unitedhealth-systems-progress and https://www.modernhealthcare.com/insurance/change-outage-prior-authorization-pay and https://www.modernhealthcare.com/government/change-update-cms-medicaid-reimbursements and https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/change-healthcare-cyberattack-medicaid-flexibilities-american-hospital-association-survey/710561/ (Some articles may require a subscription.) #changehealthcare #cyberattacks Link

Read More »

Strong Medicare Advantage Enrollment Growth Continued From February To March

In my January 22, 2024 Healthcare Labyrinth Blog ( https://www.healthcarelabyrinth.com/great-news-for-insurers-and-medicare-beneficiaries-january-2023-to-january-2024-medicare-advantage-growth-rebounds/ ), I told you about the exciting news of Medicare Advantage’s (MA) continued strong growth (from January 2023 to January 2024) as well as a nice recovery from a bit of a sluggish increase from January 2022 to January 2023. As I always do, I publish a follow-up blog in the first few months of each year given continuing growth outside of the main enrollment season from October 15 to December 7. This is because of a somewhat recent change that allows members enrolled in a MA plans to change to a different MA plan or go back to traditional Medicare (and also choose a standalone Part D (PDP) plan. This occurs from January 1 to March 31 of each year. Because of this, MA plans continue to advertise vigorously to attract additional members and there is net new enrollment

Read More »

Available Now

$30.00