October 4, 2017
GOP willing to fund CSR payments for two more years
According to Senate Health Committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Republicans are willing to fund CSR payments for two years, a key request from Democrats in negotiations to stabilize the ACA exchanges. Now that the latest repeal effort in Congress has failed, Senators are trying to rally Republicans and Democrats around a short-term plan to lower ACA premiums in 2018 and 2019.
Health insurers raising ACA premiums by more than 50 percent for 2018
Health insurers are raising prices for individual policies sold in ACA exchanges next year, with some increases reaching more than 50 percent. State regulators are approving the increases to encourage insurers to stay in the market. Rate increases of 57.5 percent in Georgia and 45 percent in Florida are likely to be approved.
ACA supporters start campaign to sign people up for health insurance
Supporters of the ACA are rolling out a new campaign to help drive enrollment. Get America Covered will run digital advertising targeted at the uninsured as well as organize community efforts to keep enrollment stable. The Trump Administration has canceled or rolled back almost every effort to enroll people in ACA plans. The campaign aims to make up for at least some of these cuts to enrollment outreach.
CHIP funding proposals emerging in Congress
The federal funding deadline has lapsed for CHIP, which provides health insurance for 9 million low-income children. But different proposals are being floated in Congress to get the program back on track. Both the Senate and the House will hold hearings today on reauthorizing CHIP. The House is planning on pushing through legislation that would fund the program for five more years and would also include $1 billion for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) previously reached a deal to preserve federal CHIP funding authorized under the ACA through 2019, with the funding gradually dropping over the next few years, eventually reaching pre-ACA funding levels in 2022 and 2023.
New start-up focuses on social needs of patients
A spin-out from Google parent company Alphabet has created the start-up Cityblock to focus on serving low-income communities with serious health problems. Under the model, patients will receive a personalized care team, which includes doctors, coaches, technology tools, follow-up nudges and a health plan. Cityblock is based on the idea that preventive care costs a lot less than a typical doctor’s visit, but the U.S. health care industry tends to focus more on care than social services.
Cleveland Clinic and Humana come together to launch co-branded Medicare Advantage plans
Cleveland Clinic and Humana are creating two $0 premium Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors in Cuyahoga County. The plans will be offered during this year’s Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, with plan coverage beginning Jan. 1. The plans will give members access to the clinic’s physicians, specialties and facilities, as well as independent physicians who are part of the Cleveland Clinic Quality Alliance.
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