A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Health Care Market


With the new legislative session comes a host of new legislative ideas. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here. The proposed legislation include the following proposals: Read more »

Study: Consumer Debt Affects Health. HCFA Proposes Policy Help

HCFA was proud to participate today in a State House briefing on new research detailing how consumer debt prevents low-income Massachusetts residents from achieving economic independence. Read more »

HCFA Submits Comments to Court on Partners Deal

HCFA has submitted detailed comments to the state court reviewing the proposed settlement agreement concerning the acqusition by Partners HealthCare of hospitals and physician practices north and south of Boston.  Our comments start from the premise that the settlement ought to be considered as a question of public policy, and not just a legal issue: The provision of health care services is not treated as an ordinary, private commodity by the public or the Commonwealth. Health care is an intensely public good.  Read more »

HPC Goes Deep Into Partners Acquistion

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) met on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 with a packed agenda covering topics such as the upcoming Cost Trends Hearings, their Final Report on the Partners proposed acquisition of Hallmark Health, new legislation affecting the HPC, and the CHART Investment Program. The detailed meeting slides are online and and takes just a click below to find our summary of the highlights and discussion points. Read more »

Over 208,000 Mass Consumers Getting $15 Million in Insurer Rebates

The "Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)" rule is the horrible name for a very good idea - assuring good value for your premiums. The law guarantees that health insurers use almost all of the premium dollars they collect for health care benefits for their subscribers. This has the effect of limiting how much insurers can retain to spend on administrative costs like overhead and marketing. Under the ACA, insurers in the large group market need to spend at least 85% of their premium revenue on health care, including quality improvements. For the small group and indivudal market, Massachusetts exceeds the... Read more »

Boston Approves Comprehensive Health Benefits for Transgender People

(cross-posted from Community Catalyst's Health Policy Hub blog; Health Care For All testified with Community Catalyst this week at the hearing on this proposal and will continue to work on this issue.) Read more »

Here it is, your moment of health care . . .

This Vox piece dredged up a 4-year oldie but goodie: What if air travel worked like health care? It's a great companion to Martha Bebinger's sad-but-true, real life adventure from just last week, The 26 Steps I Took To (Try To) Comparison Shop For A Bone Density Test. Read more »

New Open Enrollment Period Explained

We have blogged several times about the new open enrollment period that has been created for individuals who buy private health insurance coverage for themselves individually or for their families.  We have created a flow chart that explains the new law.  It is quite technical and full of legal terms.  If you have any questions, please contact our HelpLine at  1-800-272-4232. - Jekkie Kim Read more »

UPDATED: Governor Patrick Talks Payment Reform: "The next big frontier is payment reform"

UPDATE: In his inaugural speech, the Governor was clear about his vision of health care cost control and payment reform: We can’t be satisfied until health care is as affordable as it is accessible. That means creating incentives for all providers to work together to deliver better care at lower cost, improving transparency in the charges for services, reforming the medical malpractice system, and getting excessive paperwork out of the way of the relationship between doctor and patient. It means a new emphasis on wellness and prevention. Read more »

DOI's MLR Turn

The Division of Insurance held a hearing this morning on the definition of “medical loss ratio” under Massachusetts law. The DOI released an emergency regulation on October 1st. Medical loss ratio (or MLR) is the percentage of an insurance premium that is spent on medical-related expenses, as contrasted with administrative expenses and profits. Massachusetts’ small group health insurance cost containment law, Chapter 288, requires carriers to spend at least 88 percent of each premium dollar on medical-related expenses next year and 90 percent in subsequent years. Carriers who don't meet... Read more »


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