The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) included new eligibility and enrollment requirements, which have presented states with significant implementation opportunities and challenges. Although states had choices about whether to host a health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid, the ACA required all states to make major changes to Medicaid eligibility policy, including adding mandatory coverage of new groups, implementing streamlined eligibility and renewal processes, incorporating new eligibility and verification requirements, and coordinating enrollment systems with exchanges.

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News that Anthem will buy Cigna for $54 billion– a deal that closely follows the proposed merger of Aetna and Humana — will intensify regulators’ focus on antitrust issues in the health insurance industry.
Because Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna creates the nation’s largest health insurer with 53 million customers, it’s already being met with a healthy dose of criticism from doctors and hospitals who say insurers are already squeezing them.

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Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Scott Gottlieb argues that the Aetna-Humana and the Anthem-Cigna combinations are evidence of waning insurer competition that is the direct result of Obamacare. Not only are ACOs not a panacea, but the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate to limit administrative costs is forcing Aetna et al to spread their costs over a larger base.

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Health insurance mergers have hit the headlines recently. Aetna and Humana led off by announcing their merger, followed by the agreement by Cigna to be purchased by Anthem. To some, the most notable outcome of these mergers is that they yield two very large insurers, and leave the U.S. with three large health insurers with annual revenues in the $150 billion range. In this populist, “big is bad” era there are already calls for the Justice Department to step in and prevent the mergers. Let’s think this through step by step.

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Hey, employers, don’t even think about reimbursing your workers’ health-insurance premiums.

Beginning this month, the IRS can levy fines amounting to $100 per worker per day or $36,500 per worker per year, with a maximum of $500,000 per firm.

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In December 2009, President Barack Obama directed the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to implement a three-year demonstration intended to support the transformation of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) into advanced primary care practices (APCPs) in support of Medicare beneficiaries.

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A $57 million experiment to deliver better, more efficient care at federally funded health centers struggled to meet its goals and is unlikely to save money, says a new government report.

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With millions of people getting health insurance coverage since 2010, health insurers can buy one another faster than they can sign up new customers.

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State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama’s health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states.

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The Affordable Care Act created a new kind of “cooperative” health insurance arrangement heralded by supporters of health reform. The co-ops were founded on the idealistic belief that community members could band together to create health insurance companies that would be member-driven, service-oriented, and would not have to answer to shareholders or turn a profit.

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