Category Archives: Insurance

Report shows health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Source: “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement,” Milliman, November 2019.In a recent report on the level of parity between care for patients with mental health versus physical health conditions, actuaries from Milliman reported which states (shown in white and light blue) have the highest rates of parity and which states have the lowest rates (darker and deep blue). One of the strengths of the report is that it has data on parity for each state.

A recent report indicates that health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws for people with employer-sponsored health coverage and their families.

In the report, “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement,” actuaries from the consulting firm Milliman document wide disparities in access to behavioral health care services for employees, family members and retirees with health insurance through an employer.

The report shows that disparities between physical and behavioral health care for both in-network access and provider reimbursement rates are making it harder for Americans to find affordable and available mental health care and addiction treatment. Continue reading

In 2020, employers’ benefit plans will promote more virtual care and focus on high-cost claims

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Companies that pay for employer-sponsored health insurance are continually seeking ways to cut health care costs and improve the care delivered to employees, their family members and retirees.

To accomplish these goals in 2020, employers will implement more virtual care, such as telemedicine, and will focus more on high-cost claims, according to a report from National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Continue reading

Will the ACA individual mandate case go directly to the Supreme Court?

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Supreme Court

Photo by dbking via Flickr

Under the most usual course of events, the Supreme Court would not consider (again) the fate of the Affordable Care Act smack in the midst of the 2020 presidential elections.

But we aren’t living amid “usual” course of events. A coalition of state attorneys general wants the legal process speeded up. And while it’s not that likely that the high court will agree, it’s not impossible either.

In December the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voided the ACA’s individual mandate. But it didn’t agree with the earlier District Court ruling from December 2018 that because the mandate is unconstitutional, the whole law is invalid. Continue reading

New tip sheet explains ‘partial Medicaid expansion’ – and why it hasn’t happened (yet)

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Map: Kaiser Family Foundation (as of Nov. 15, 2019)

Since the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, states have been warring over whether or not to expand Medicaid.

Now, some states want to pursue a “partial” expansion – under the same generous federal funding rules. So far, no state has been able to do this – but they are trying. Continue reading

Maternal deaths among black women focus attention on the need for policy and payment reform

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

The number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births has risen steadily since the CDC started reporting the data in 1987 when the rate was 7.2. In its most recent report, the rate was 16.9.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births has risen steadily since the CDC started reporting the data in 1987 when the rate was 7.2. In its most recent report, the rate was 16.9.

For the past several years, health care journalists have correctly focused on the rising rate of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over the past 40 years, the nation’s rate of pregnancy-related deaths has more than doubled.

Although the rate dropped slightly in 2016 to 16.9 per 100,000 live births (from a high of 18 in 2014), the rate was 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987 when the CDC began tracking the data. Continue reading

Year-end wrap-up: What your colleagues are reading

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Fireworks for the new yearWe’re closing in on the end of the year and the inevitable annual lists. We thought this would be a good time to review the blog posts written this year that got the most views. It turns out they cover a wide swath of topics in health care, from careful use of language and covering studies to vaccines and caring for our aging population.

Have a look for yourself: Continue reading