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Administration advises states to expand Medicaid or risk losing federal money
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration is putting pressure on states to expand Medicaid, telling them they may lose federal money if they delay. But at the same time, federal health officials also have told states that if they choose to expand Medicaid, they are free to reverse the decision at any time. The officials have set forth their position in letters to state officials — the first definitive guidance since the Supreme Court ruled in June that the expansion of Medicaid was an option, not a requirement, for states. Cindy Mann, the federal official in charge of Medicaid, said, "A state may choose whether and when to expand, and if a state covers the expansion group, it may decide later to drop the coverage." More



MHPA's 2012 Annual Meeting: Free diabetes workshop for all attendees
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If you haven't signed up yet for the MHPA 2012 Annual Meeting, "A Pivotal Time for Medicaid Health Plans," slated for Oct. 24-26, now is the time to register online from your PC or PDA with only 22 days to go. We've also added a diabetes disparities workshop Oct 24, free for all conference attendees. "Diabetes Disparities: Innovations in Identifying and Addressing Them in Medicaid Managed Care Plans" will feature Dr. Kasia Lipska from Yale University School of Medicine; Dr. Gary Puckrein of the National Minority Quality Forum; Mary Barton from NCQA; and Dr. Andrea Gelzer, CMO of The Amerihealth Mercy Family of Companies. See the agenda here. More

Drug coupons: A good deal for the patient, but not the insurer
The Washington Post/Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the past few years, drug coupons and discount cards have become nearly ubiquitous for prescription drugs. Such incentives are available for 395 medications, according to a recent report from industry consultant IMS Health. In a similar analysis in 2009, a marketing firm found that only 86 drugs came with coupons. Drugmakers say the coupons help Americans get the medicine they need. But the insurance industry is concerned that they drive patients toward more expensive brand-name drugs, leaving insurers to cover the full cost, which then gets passed on to consumers in the form of higher premiums. More

Truven Health AnalyticsSM launches HIE in West Virginia
ADVANCE for Health Information Professionals    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
West Virginia Health Information Network and Truven Health AnalyticsSM, formerly the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters, announce the launch of a statewide health information exchange system. WVHIN is a public/private partnership charged with building a secure electronic health information system for the exchange of patient data among physicians, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, other care providers and stakeholders. Working with early adopters across Medicaid, Public Health and provider networks, Wheeling Hospitals and West Virginia University Healthcare were selected to be the pilot sites. More

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Watch now: Leverage Market Analytics, expert video from Truven Health (formerly Thomson Reuters Healthcare)
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Bob Kelley, senior vice president of Truven Health, talks about how health plans can leverage data to better position themselves for reform changes. Leverage Market Analytics is the second in a free video series by Truven Health. Coming up next week: How reform is causing health plans to change their business models.

AEI 'fellow' stands by editorial equating 'Obamacare' to 'Romneycare;' predicts ACA repeal unlikely
InsideHealthPolicy.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
J.D. Kleinke, the 20-year health economics veteran and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who caused a stir with his Sept. 28 New York Times editorial, "The Conservative Case for Obamacare," tells Inside Health Policy he stands by his view that the health law is built largely on Republican tenets and predicts the law won't be repealed as doing so would leave the insurance industry exposed. While Kleinke believes the final reform law is the most reasonable approach that could have emerged, he admits he dislikes a couple of its "ornaments." More

Campaign debate over Medicare could ripple out to deficit reduction talks next year
InsideHealthPolicy.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If polls continue to show public support eroding for Medicare premium support and Medicaid block grants, Republicans might have a difficult time pushing those reforms next year during the deficit reduction debates, some healthcare lobbyists and political science experts said. But others countered that even if Republicans lose their White House bid, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan might return to the House a formidable national figure able to push for those changes. More



Primer: How will the election change Medicaid?
PBS Newshour    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The future of Medicaid — the state-federal workhorse of the nation's health system that provides health coverage to the poorest and sickest Americans — hangs in the balance on Election Day. President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have vastly different approaches to the program. Medicaid is the backbone of the 2010 health law — considered Obama's signature legislative achievement — which, beginning in 2014, expands coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. As many as 17 million of those newly insured citizens will be on Medicaid. More

Many states not prepared for healthcare law
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than three dozen states could be unprepared or unwilling to set up the insurance marketplaces called for under the 2010 healthcare law, leaving at least part of the task up to the federal government, according to a new report. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia formally have expressed their intention to set up the marketplaces, which are known under the law as health insurance exchanges. But many of the rest of the states are behind in their planning or have decided not to operate exchanges on their own, according to a report from the Health Research Institute, the research arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers's healthcare consulting business. More

Report: Millions will fall through ACA cracks in California
California Healthline    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As many as four million Californians could remain uninsured after all national health reforms are in place, and about half of them will be eligible for subsidized coverage but not enrolled, according to a new report. National reform will bring health coverage to millions of previously uninsured Californians through the expansion of Medi-Cal and creation of subsidized insurance through the new Health Benefit Exchange. However, millions still will fall through the cracks, according to authors of a joint report from the UC-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. More

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Eyes turn to Arkansas' bold effort to cut Medicaid costs, add transparency
Kaiser Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Arkansas will kick off a program to reduce its Medicaid costs and improve care through a partnership with its largest private insurance companies — Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and QualChoice. If successful, experts say the state's Medicaid program could save about $4.4 million in fiscal year 2013 and $9.3 million in 2014. This concept, one of the first of its kind — especially on this scale — got the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' go-ahead earlier this month. More

Arizona seeking help for Medicaid program
The Arizona Republic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Arizona is seeking federal approval to continue its Medicaid program for childless adults, which lawmakers capped last year to help balance the budget. Without a federal extension, the program will expire next year. At the same time, state Medicaid officials hope to convince the federal government that Arizona deserves additional funding to insure that group of low-income adults. More



Kansas AAAs to take on assessments of in-home Medicaid needs
Kansas Health Institute    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Officials at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has signed a contract with the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging, putting the organization in charge of determining which Medicaid-funded services are needed to keep the state's low-income frail elderly, physically disabled or brain-injured out of nursing homes. Southwest Kansas AAA Executive Director Dave Deist said the agency intends to subcontract for the same services with the other 10 AAAs throughout the state. More

States probe HHS on partial Medicaid expansion options
American Medical Association    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Several states are querying the federal government on how flexible they can be in tailoring eligibility levels to expand Medicaid starting in 2014, given that the full expansion now is optional under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the health system reform law. New Mexico officials posed such questions to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in a recent letter. Indiana, meanwhile, is waiting to hear from HHS about a waiver that would allow its Healthy Indiana Plan to be used as the vehicle for a Medicaid expansion. More


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Medicaid pilot project for autism begins taking applications in Utah
KCPW-FM    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new Medicaid pilot project offering services to children with autism spectrum disorders has begun accepting applications. As KCPW's Charlotte Duren reports, unlike traditional Medicaid, a parent's income will not be considered in determining a child's eligibility for the program, and Utah officials hope this will be the start to a change in health policies on autism. More

McKesson to Acquire MED3OOO
Business Wire    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
McKesson and MED3OOO announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which McKesson will acquire MED3OOO, a national healthcare management and technology services company that helps improve outcomes for providers, health plans, employers and the patients and employees they serve. More



Free webinar by Medagate: 'Member Engagement: Communications & Wellness Programs' | 3 p.m. EDT Oct. 10
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Approximately 25 percent of Medicaid members represent 70 to 80 percent of Medicaid spending. Unfortunately, many Medicaid members are transient by nature, which can make communicating and maintaining wellness programs a challenge. Join Fred Haumesser from ReadyWireless and Donny Tye from Medagate to learn about communication and wellness strategies that take advantage of Lifeline Medicaid programs to engage members. More

Insights webinar: 'Prepayment Reviews & Minimizing Medicaid Exposure | 11 a.m. EDT Oct. 15
Presidio Excess Insurance Inc.    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Discuss high-dollar Medicaid claim trends from a reinsurer's prospective. REGISTER NOW.

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Insights webinar: 'The Ins and Outs of Encounter Reporting' | 11 a.m. EDT Oct. 29
Altegra Health    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Health plans have many compliance requirements tied to their state Medicaid contracts, not the least of which is encounter reporting. REGISTER NOW.

Free webinar by MHPA partner LexisNexis: 'Why Identity Management Matters to Medicaid' | 1 p.m. EST Nov. 8
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As a Medicaid Plan you should not just be addressing the "what" of identity management — the technical side — but, more important, the question of "who?" How do we know who the person on the other end is who they say they are and what risks they may pose for the environments and systems they are attempting to enter? More

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Take action for World Diabetes Day: Attend MHPA's free webinar by Novo Nordisk on diabetes trends to 2025 and resources for policymakers, patients | noon EST Nov. 14
MHPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In an effort to help confront the epidemic of diabetes, Novo Nordisk commissioned and funded "United States' Diabetes Crisis: Today and Future Trends," the first study to provide detailed diabetes prevalence and cost forecasts individually for all 50 states out to the year 2025. The study not only provides insight into how the growing diabetes epidemic geographically will spread in the U.S., but also highlights how this demographic shift might affect local economies. This webinar will provide an overview of the study from lead researcher Dr. Bill Rowley and will introduce the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Barometer, an interactive tool and comprehensive resource that highlights important research about the current state of diabetes in the United States. Participants also will learn how to use the interactive map portion of the website to benchmark and compare diabetes prevalence and cost forecasts to 2025 for all 50 states. More



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