Author Archives: rich

N.O. Kidney Walk Set for Nov. 2

The 2014 New Orleans Kidney Walk will take place on Sunday, Nov. 2, at Audubon Park, Shelter #10, at 8 a.m. The Walk is a non-competitive walk focusing on education, the prevention of kidney and urinary tract diseases, and awareness of the need for organ donation.

NY Times: Bracing for New Challenges in Year 2 of Healthcare Law

By REED ABELSON New York Times The first year of enrollment under the federal health care law was marred by the troubled start of HealthCare.gov, rampant confusion among consumers and a steep learning curve for insurers and government officials alike. But insurance executives and managers of the online marketplaces are already girding for the coming open enrollment period, saying they fear it could be even more difficult than the last.    

‘Shaping Policy to Build a Healthier Louisiana’ Summit to be Held Sept. 24 in Baton Rouge

The Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition (LHCC), which strives to improve the health and quality of life of Louisianans by mobilizing communities through implementing policy, systems and environmental changes, cordially invites you to attend the LHCC Annual Summit, “Shaping Policy to Build a Healthier Louisiana.” The summit will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge and will convene community-based organizations, local and state government, businesses, faith-based entities and residents across Louisiana to learn more on ways to improve health by shaping policy. All attendees are required to register no later than Wednesday, Sept. 24. There is a registration fee of $30, which includes breakfast and lunch. Click here to register.

HHS sets enrollment rules for year two of Obamacare

By The Washington Post The Obama administration proposed new rules Thursday to let most Americans with health plans in the federal health insurance marketplace be enrolled automatically in a second year of coverage, but the approach prompted swift questions about how it would work and who would benefit.

La. business exchange delayed

Insurance options available in 2016 By TED GRIGGSThe Advocate Louisiana is one of 18 states where small businesses will be allowed to offer only one health plan to workers in 2015 under the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program marketplace, known as SHOP. The SHOP online insurance marketplaces were supposed to offer a variety of options for group coverage to workers of companies that employ 50 people or less. Coverage through those plans was supposed to be available in 2015. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ delay means those choices won’t be available in Louisiana until 2016. “We were disappointed to see the delay in increased offerings, such as employee choice,” said Kevin Kuhlman, a spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business. “What it shows us is small businesses are low on the Obamacare implementation priority list, and SHOP exchanges are just kind of an afterthought at this point and time.” In a May 29 letter to DHHS, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon recommended delaying the SHOP transition. Implementing the employee choice model in 2015 would have increased insurance rates by anywhere from 2 percent to 7 percent on top of what was already expected, Donelon said. The main reason for the additional increase is what is called adverse selection, said state Deputy Commissioner Korey Harvey. People with health issues or who plan elective procedures tend to buy policies with richer benefits, and insurance companies raise rates to cover the increased utilization. The rates on the exchange are tied to those that are sold off the exchange. So if the rates increase on the exchange, the rates must also rise for off-exchange policies. Harvey said Louisiana will be able […]

The Week in Healthcare — May 1

News last week focused on the Affordable Care Act coverage gap, the ACA’s impact on canceled plans, and stats on those seeking exemptions. Highlights include: CNN reported on the millions of people who fall into the ACA’s coverage gap – people who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but don’t make enough to get federal subsidies to buy insurance on the marketplace. Under the ACA, Medicaid was expanded to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but the Supreme Court gave states the ability to opt out, which 24 states did. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 5 million people nationwide fall in the gap. A study reported on by Politico said that millions of plans that were canceled because they did not meet ACA requirements likely would not have been continued by the policyholders anyway. Study author Benjamin Sommers wrote in Health Affairs that “the effects of the recent cancellations are not necessarily out of the norm.” Sommers said the data shows that individual coverage is transitional for most people because they often buy it while between jobs or when waiting for employer benefits to start. According to Newsmax, government statistics show that relatively few people have sought exemptions from the individual mandate to purchase insurance or pay a fine. Around 77,000 families and individuals have requested exemptions. More than 32,000 of those came from Native Americans, who are exempt because their healthcare is funded through the federal Indian Health Service.