Health Care

HHS Announces Delay in ICD-10 Compliance Deadline

On February 16th, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the deadline by which health care entities must comply with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedures codes (ICD-10) will be delayed. The delay is an effort on the part of HHS to ease the administrative burden faced by health care providers. Secretary Sebelius stated, “We are committing to work with the provider community to reexamine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our health care system.”

Author: Michael Gomes

Insured Young Adults Rise 2.5 Million Since PPACA Enacted

Whether you are for or against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), it is changing the landscape of health care insurance as we know it. The most recent sign of the changing times is an announcement that 2.5 million young adults have picked up insurance coverage over the past year. This is largely due to PPACA’s requirement that young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until the age of 26. BenefitMall has covered this requirement extensively in a number of blogs that are posted on www.healthcareexchange.com.

Author: Michael Gomes

PPACA Establishes New Outcomes Research Institute to Promote Evidence Based Medicine: Some Express Concerns About Funding and Objectives

Buried in the thousands of pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is Section 1181, which authorized the establishment of the Patient Center for Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent, non-profit organization charged with “evaluating and comparing health outcomes and the clinical effectiveness, risks, and benefits of medical treatments, services, procedures, drugs, and other strategies or items that treat, manage, diagnose, or prevent illness or injury.”

Author: Michael Gomes

GOP Candidates in Agreement, Down with PPACA - but What’s the Solution?

Without a doubt, health care is going to be a hot button issue in the rapidly approaching 2012 presidential election. While GOP hopefuls  agree - President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) needs to be repealed—they have very different opinions regarding the future of health care in our country.

According to a recent survey, “Health care and the national deficit tied as the second-most important issue after job creation in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Forty-two percent of the 1,000 adults nationwide surveyed by PwC's Health Research Institute said they would prefer lower health care costs over an economic rebound.”

Author: Michael Gomes

HHS Unveils New Rules that Allow Patients Direct Access to Lab Results

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new initiative to give patients better access to their health information through the use of health information technology (IT). The proposed rules, published by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, expand the rights of patients to access their health information by using IT. Most notably, the new rules will give patients access to their test results directly from labs.

Author: Michael Gomes

Congressional Outlook: Financial Issues Dominate Key Policy Discussions on the Hill

Battles continue to rage between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration on a variety of financial and health care issues. As always, BenefitMall pledges to keep you up-to-date on the latest topics affecting the healthcare industry. Here are some brief snapshots of what is just around the corner.[1]

The Looming Debt Crisis

The U.S. debt reached the maximum allowed debt level on May 16, stretching to the ceiling of $14.3 trillion.[2] Both parties have been unable to reach an agreement to address the debt and federal spending problems, forcing the Department of Treasury (DOT) to take “extraordinary measures” by suspending the issuance of new debt and tapping two federal employee pension funds.[3] According to DOT, this will allow the government to continue functioning until August 2 when the tapped pension funds will be depleted.[4] Despite current grandstanding by all parties involved, a compromise must be reached by that date or the government will face another threat of shutdown.

Author: Bernard DiFiore

Congressional Outlook: Financial Issues Dominate Key Policy Discussions on the Hill

Battles continue to rage between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration on a variety of financial and health care issues. As always, BenefitMall pledges to keep you up-to-date on the latest topics affecting the healthcare industry. Here are some brief snapshots of what is just around the corner.[1]

The Looming Debt Crisis

The U.S. debt reached the maximum allowed debt level on May 16, stretching to the ceiling of $14.3 trillion.[2] Both parties have been unable to reach an agreement to address the debt and federal spending problems, forcing the Department of Treasury (DOT) to take “extraordinary measures” by suspending the issuance of new debt and tapping two federal employee pension funds.[3] According to DOT, this will allow the government to continue functioning until August 2 when the tapped pension funds will be depleted.[4] Despite current grandstanding by all parties involved, a compromise must be reached by that date or the government will face another threat of shutdown.

Author: Bernard DiFiore

New Accountable Care Organization Draft Rules Released

What is all of the hoopla about Accountable Care Organizations, more commonly known as ACOs? Last week, the long-awaited proposed regulations were issued. Now we might have some answers.  

The draft rules for the establishment and operation of ACOs, authorized under Section 3022 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[1] (PPACA), were released on March 31.[2] The ACO interim rules, which exceed 400 pages, are being published for public comment. To review the proposed rules, click here.[GC1]  As with any set of proposed rules released for public comment, we can anticipate changes to these rules before they become law.

Author: Michael Gomes

VA Federal District Courts Disagree on Constitutionality of PPACA’s Individual Mandate

On Monday, the headlines and airways were filled with the news that a key provision in the sweeping healthcare overhaul was ruled unconstitutional.  Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli’s motion for Summary Judgment against the federal government.  In a 42-page opinion[GC1] , Hudson said the provision of the law that requires most individuals to get insurance or pay a fine by 2014 is an inappropriate expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress's power to regulate interstate trade. [1]

The case is one of several constitutional challenges from states, public interest groups, and other opponents filed since Congress passed health care reform earlier this year. These plaintiffs have argued that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by including in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) an individual mandate provision requiring uninsured individuals to pay a penalty unless they purchased health insurance.

Author: Bernard DiFiore

HHS Program Expands to Tackle Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled Healthy People 2020, which identifies the nation’s 10-year goals for promoting health and preventing disease.

This program, and its associated educational materials, can serve as a helpful resource to brokers and agents as they provide support to their clients.  While most insurance coverage is still geared to treating individuals when they get sick, identifying resources to promote a healthier lifestyle is an important goal for everyone, no matter what age or type of insurance coverage they have.     

Author: Scott Kirksey
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