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

National Health Reform

Happy ½ Birthday, National Health Care Reform. Now Let's Stop Using the "Grandfathering" Loophole.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"263","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"344","width":"425","style":""}}]] Today's 6-month anniversary of health care reform is more than a time to celebrate - it's also a time to begin reaping the real rewards of policies that begin taking effect, helping people get insurance coverage that provides real health security. Many of the Patient's Bill of Rights provisions take effect today. A quick summary of the new provisions are at healthcare.gov. Even in Massachusetts, which implemented a number of insurance... Read more »

Get Your National Health Reform Info Here

[brightcove vid=608833805001&exp3=1875349721&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=1875348214&pk=AQ%2E%2E,AAAAAG_Hiv... With the big six-month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act coming tomorrow, lots of groups are rolling out some outstanding online resources on national reform. Here's a sample: Read more »

Making Health Reform Work: State Consumer Assistance Programs

Our colleagues at the Community Service Society NY and Community Catalyst have released a fantastic (and beautiful to look at too!) new report (pdf) that highlights the importance of State Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs) in making health reform implementation work best for real people. Consumer Assistance Programs provide essential information and enrollment assistance to consumers looking for the best health plan for them. CAPs also help to ensure that people know how to use their health care coverage to access the care that they need. In addition to direct service, CAPs also provide... Read more »

Getting Coverage to 18-26 Year Olds

Massachusetts had done a good job in expanding coverage to young adults, but there's a lot more to do. Young Invincibles, a national organization representing 18 to 34 year-olds in the federal health reform debate, launched the Getting Covered campaign last week. Getting Covered will inform young adults and their families about the young adult coverage provision in national health reform, which allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. The federal standard, when begins taking effect on September 23, is stronger that the Massachusetts legislation. While our law... Read more »

Mass.gov/NationalHealthReform open for business (and consumers)

EOHHS has set up a new website to be the central source of official information on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts: mass.gov/NationalHealthReform. The site includes grant and demonstration opportunities, letters of intent, an implementation timeline and information for employers, as well as links to outside resources. The state promises that after this initial offering, the site will grow as more information and funding opportunities become available. We're pleased to see the site and look forward to more and more information coming online.-Brian Rosman Read more »

Per ACA, NAIC OKs MLR. Next, MA?

Apparently, it's in the blogger code to preface all discussion on the formerly-arcane issue of health insurers' "medical loss ratio" (MLR) with a comment on the term. It does always strike me as odd that, from an insurer's accounting point of view, paying for medical care for the members is considered a loss. Isn't that what they're there for? Read more »

QCC Looks at Website, National Reform

The Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council (QCC) met this week, focusing on a Regional Extension Center (REC) business model for e-health implementation and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA- national health reform). Prior to discussing the REC business model and PPACA, the Council heard a report from the Cost Containment Committee. The Committee presented the Council with its summary of the Massachusetts Administrative Simplification Collaborative, focusing on four areas where administrative costs can be reduced across the state: eligibility determination... Read more »

Another Reason Why National Health Care Reform is Good for Massachusetts

In advance of the BCBS Foundation Forum on Monday on the impact of national reform on Massachusetts, we want to highlight a new report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured that provides another reason why national health care reform will benefit Massachusetts: money. This analysis, prepared by the Urban Institute, estimates how each state will fare fiscally in terms of Medicaid spending under national reform. For most states, the requirement to expand coverage means a modest increase in state expenses. But for Massachusetts and a few other states, the tables are turned.... Read more »

Responding to Berwick Critics

President Obama's nomination of HCFA friend Donald Berwick to head CMS, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is coming under blistering Republican attacks. As the Boston Globe reported, Republicans are using ugly language to smear Berwick, as means of attacking health reform: GOP’s senators are making it clear they plan to turn Berwick’s confirmation hearings into a forum for continuing debate over the newly-minted health care overhaul law. Republicans believe hammering at the law will help them win seats in the fall’s midterm elections. 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 »

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