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Conway calls for update to star rating system
With more than 70 percent of health plans receiving at least 4 out of a possible 5 stars, the Medicare Advantage star rating system is in need of an adjustment, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway. At the America’s Health Insurance Plans Conferences on Medicare, Medicaid and Duals in Washington, D.C. yesterday Conway said he wants to change the metrics of performance and add more meaningful measures. John Wilkerson at Inside Health Policy reports (subscriber’s content).
GOP targets ACA over premium price increases
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others in his party are raising the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a campaign issue in the last two weeks of the 2016 election. Trump and the GOP argue double-digit price hikes for premiums are proof the law undermines America’s health care system and needs to be repealed. Hillary Clinton and Democrats have defended the program, while acknowledging adjustments need to be made to the ACA. Paul Demko and Rachana Pradhan of Politico have the story
Weak enrollment drives ACA troubles
Fewer than half as many people have signed up for marketplace plans than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in 2014. A chart created by Sarah Kliff of Vox shows fewer than 11 million of the 22 million individuals CBO projected would sign up for exchange plans did so. The original CBO model expected healthy and young people to enroll, which would help keep costs lower. Instead, most enrollees have been individuals who need health care, creating greater risk for insurers and driving up premium costs.
Medicare launches hospice pilot
Patients who are in need of hospice care can now seek treatment. Individuals diagnosed with cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or HIV taking part in Medicare’s Care Choices pilot program can receive hospice care at home while still trying curative treatments. The program promotes the use of hospice care by giving patients the opportunity to pursue medications that could extend life. More than 100 hospitals nationwide participate in the program. Bob Tedeschi at STAT has the story.
Health care premiums rising
Families across the country are spending more of their paychecks on health care as premiums and deductibles continue to rise. Nationally the percentage of incomes spent on health care has grown almost two percent between 2010 and 2015. Priyanka Dayal McCluskey of The Boston Globe explains that although premium increases have been small, wages still have not been able to keep pace.
Federal tax credit should alleviate effect of premium price hikes
Experts say most Americans are unlikely to be affected by double-digit price increases for exchange health plans. Almost 80 percent of Americans who purchase insurance in the marketplace should be able to find a plan that will cost less than $100 a month after federal tax credits writes Shelby Livingston of Modern Healthcare.