Kaiser Health News and NPR have been collaborating on a series called Bill of the Month. This piece by KHN’s Chad Terhune was one of the most memorable. Like many of these articles, it got results – the story got a ton of attention, outrage was generated and voila, the bill was lowered. It was cited by a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation curbing the practice of “surprise billing.”
The merger of CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy retailers, with third-largest health insurer Aetna has the potential to transform the health care system and raises concerns about the effect the merger could have on drug prices and competition. This would be the first time that a large pharmacy retailer gains control of one of the nation’s largest health insurers. CVS Health not only has 9,800 retail outlets in nearly every state (except Wyoming), but also 94 million members in pharmacy benefit manager CVS/Caremark. Continue reading
When Noam N. Levey was preparing to write about association health plans for The Los Angeles Times, he mined one of the best sources available: the comments on the federal Department of Labor’s site.
The comments on proposed DOL rules on the shed light on how health insurers and other organizations viewed how AHPs would work. When the department issued the final rules in June, Levey was prepared to write a well-sourced article about the advantages and disadvantages of AHPs. Continue reading
Bram Sable-Smith, who spent a year doing in-depth reporting on an endangered rural hospital in Pemiscot County, Mo., as part of an AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, did a tip sheet on how to report on the threat to rural hospitals, in the context of a wave of closures. Continue reading
Open enrollment begins in just a few weeks and overall it’s looking like a better year for the ACA markets than many earlier expected. As of this writing, there are no “bare” counties and the general trend is toward greater health plan participation in the markets – despite all the undermining by the Trump administration.
Premiums are rising more modestly than last year and in a few actually are falling on average. While we don’t yet have complete insurance statistics for 2018, in 2017 coverage was quite stable, according to the most recent data from the U. S. Census Bureau. Continue reading
We earlier told you about one lawsuit that aims to take down the ACA – or at least wipe out the law’s most popular provisions. A ruling could come at any time. The judge in oral argument seemed quite sympathetic to the conservative states bringing suit, but we won’t know for sure until his ruling, which likely will be appealed.
The question is what will happen if the court does strike all or part of the law, especially with open enrollment beginning Nov. 1 (assuming that decision is not stayed pending appeal). Continue reading