A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Market

Too Much For One Blog Post? We Think Not

There’s so much health policy news today, that we’re tempted to post 6 different items. They’re all important. But rather than overwhelm, we’ll try some brief-ish summaries of a bunch of things that all exploded today. We apologize for the length, but how else can we be your source of The Ultimate Massachusetts Health Care Insider InformationTM without all this? So click on for our take today on the budget vetoes, immigrant coverage, insurance gaming study, hospital use, employers who don't provide coverage, waiver renewal and more. Read more »

Health Bills Move/Die in Legislature

The Health Care Financing Committee polled members on 44 bills Tuesday afternoon, cleaning out most of their inventory of bills for this session. Click here to see a list of the poll results. We were disappointed that the Committee recommended to study a number of important bills. Sending a bill to study in effect kills the bill for the session. A number of these bills would have no cost to the Commonwealth and could be advanced despite the fiscal crunch. Among the bills sent to study were: Read more »

If a Non-Profit Hospital Converts to a For-Profit Hospital, What Does that Mean to Patients and the Community?

Today begins a month-long series of public hearings before the Attorney General and Department of Public Health on the proposed conversion of the non-profit Caritas Christi hospital network owned by the Boston Archdiocese to the New York-based private equity firm Cerberus who would run the hospitals as for-profit entities. Health Care For All believes that community hospitals are an integral part of the community fabric. When run well, these hospitals provide vibrant and robust outreach, care, and support for our communities. We want to make sure that community hospitals continue to provide... Read more »

Hospital Assets Report Released

Late yesterday, the DHCFP released its Study of the Reserves, Endowments, and Surpluses of Hospitals in Massachusetts. This report, required by Chapter 305 of the Acts of 2008 is groundbreaking in its review of hospital assets. Much like its Insurer Reserves companion, this report is long, complex and provides a summary of the review and recommendations. Read more »

Mass Plans Advance Dependent Coverage

One of most often asked questions on our HelpLine about the federal Affordable Care Act is related to the expansion of parents’ coverage for dependents up to age 26. HelpLine callers whose employers self-insure are eager to find out if the new provision, which takes effect on September 23rd of this year, will require their plans to cover their dependants up to age 26. We are pleased to tell them, "Yes, all plans in Massachusetts will now have to abide by this new requirement under health reform!" Read more »

DHCFP Reports, You Pay Attention. Part One of Two: Reserves

Two groundbreaking DHCFP reports issued today and yesterday will have a direct impact on health policy in Massachusetts. The reports (Study of the Reserves and Surpluses of Health Insurers in Massachusetts and Health Care Cost Trends Final Report), together with other recent reports and several others soon to come, will feed a policy process grounded in real evidence. Here's our take on the first of the two, yesterday's Reserves report. Read more »

DOI Hearings on Limited Networks, Transparency

The DOI will hold two informational hearings in the next few weeks. The first hearing, scheduled for May 6th at 10 am, will discuss limited provider networks and the effect they may have on small business health insurance premiums. Both the Governor's and the Senate President's premium rate relief bills direct insurers to offer limited network plans. Read more »

Weekly Small Group/Individual Insurance Availability Update

Here is the weekly update on insurance availability for individuals and small business: Read more »

Insurance Industry v. DOI: You Be The Judge

The Court's decision on the request for an injunction against the Division of Insurance's order disallowing insurer rate hikes is due Monday by the end of the day. In the meantime, you can play the judge and read the arguments from each side. Here's the documents we've been able to get our hands on. There are more documents, and would be happy to post anything else that comes our way. Insurer Filings 1. Insurer's motion for an injunction (5-page pdf) 2. Legal memo in support of injunction (81-page pdf) Read more »

Late Friday Afternoon Insurance Availability Update

As of late afternoon Friday, as best we can tell, this is the status of the availability of individual and small group health insurance in Massachusetts. We will update the post as things change or we get new information; please use the comments if you (we know you're out there, industry players) have information to share. Read more »

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