June 23, 2014
According to CMS, he’ll be principal deputy administrator, overseeing day-to-day operations for Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and exchanges. He was previously group executive vice president for United’s Optum, which was called in to help fix the troubled exchanges after the botched launch. CMS also said it would hire a permanent chief executive as well as a chief technology officer for the federal exchange. Republicans are warning of potential conflicts of interest in the Slavitt hiring. As for the CEO and CTO hires, it was sorely needed.
June 18, 2014
That’s how much the average subsidized person is paying monthly for health insurance on the exchanges, according to new HHS data covered on Vox by German Lopez. Taxpayers picked up an average of $264 of the tab:
The report, published Wednesday, is the most in-depth look available so far at the prices that federal marketplace shoppers will pay for private health coverage. It shows the vast majority of shoppers will use federal subsidies to pay for insurance, significantly reducing their monthly price tag.
June 16, 2014
Interesting post in The New York Times blog The Upshot on the notion of relative value health insurance.
Consider the latest technology for treating prostate cancer: the proton beam….Per treatment, this therapy costs at least twice as much as alternative approaches, but is no more effective. Many health plans cover it and other therapies of low or uncertain value because they pay for anything that physicians deem medically necessary even when evidence suggests otherwise. And, without even knowing it, Americans pay for it in higher premiums.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If plans could compete on the basis of the therapies they cover, consumers could decide what they wish to pay for. This sounds complicated, but it need not be.
Health plans could define themselves at least in part by the value of technologies they cover, an idea proposed by Professor Russell Korobkin of the U.C.L.A. School of Law….
Someone who wanted proton-beam cancer treatment coverage could have it by selecting a platinum policy and paying its higher premiums. Someone who did not want to pay higher premiums for lower-value care, in turn, could choose a bronze or silver plan. This gives a different, but more useful, meaning to the terms “gold,” “silver” and “bronze” than they have in the new insurance exchanges today.
June 13, 2014
Austin Frakt of The Incidental Economist highlights a study that suggests:
Sizeable [for-profit] insurers are more likely to exercise market power via price increases than are comparable NFP [not-for-profit] insurers. Second, pricing actions by dominant insurers have a ripple effect on rivals’ prices, further solidifying the evidence pointing towards oligopolistic conduct in many local insurance markets.
June 11, 2014
First there’s the “insane” battle over the Medicaid expansion, as Sarah Kliff reports on Vox, and now House majority leader Eric Cantor has lost the Republican primary in his district to a Tea Party guy. As Phil Rizzuto would have said, “Holy Cow!”
What’s it all mean? Thomas Davis III, a Republican and former Virginia congressman, hit the nail on the head in this quote in The New York Times:
When Eric Cantor, a conservative and member of the leadership, is too moderate, it sends a chilling effect to other Republicans and makes it that much harder to cross over and work together.