A Healthy Blog

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

Private Market

House Announces Committee Assignments

Today the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its committee chairs and members for the new legislative session. That big boom you just heard was the starting gun for the legislative process. Among the new chairs is Boston Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, who will co-lead the Health Care Financing Committee. This committee considers all bills concerning MassHealth, the Health Connector, other program such as the Health Safety Net, and delivery system reforms. It also takes a second look at many health care-related bills first approved by other committees. It has been called the "... Read more »

Senators Hear From HCFA Activist

Over one-fourth of the Massachusetts state Senators gathered last week at UMass Medical School in Worcester to hear the concerns of their constituents. These forums, known as the Commonwealth Conversations Tour, are an initiative led by Senate President Stan Rosenberg aimed at giving people the opportunity to make their voices heard on important issues as this legislative session begins. Read more »

How's Your Insurer's Price Transparency Tool? Take the Survey.

  Imagine shopping where you can't see the price tag.  Would you buy something with a credit card if you didn't know the cost until your bill arrived?  That's exactly what often happens when you "buy" a health care service.  Massachusetts law allows you to see the price tags of different health care providers - before you choose them to provide your health care service. Your health insurance company must have an online cost estimator that you can use to find out in advance what you will have to pay for your health care service.  Health Care For All wants to make sure that these cost... Read more »

HCFA's 2015-2016 PRIORITY LEGISLATION

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 »

HPC: Yes, Glass Half Full/Half Empty. But Costs Under Control, For Now

Today the Health Policy Commission held a lengthy, end-of-year meeting (meeting slide deck here) summing up the year and discussing a wide variety of topics, including a year-end summary of the work of the Office of Patient Protection and updates on the medical home and ACO standard process. It was also announced that the first meeting of the "Essential Services Task Force," made up of state officials and charged with looking at the issues of hospital and service closures, will occur on December 18.   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 »

Progress For Transgender Health Care; Progress for All

HCFA is extraordinarily pleased with the recent decisions by the Patrick administration supporting health care for people needing gender therapy care. The new policy will allow transgender people across the state to access appropriate mental health care, hormone therapy, and other transition-related care. Read more »

New "Healthcare Compass" Site Provides Data on Mass Primary Care Practices

MA Health Quality Partners today launched its new consumer website with quality data for pediatric and adult primary care practices across Massachusetts. The website, called Healthcare Compass (http://healthcarecompassma.org), provides both clinical quality data and patient experience data. The website is easy to navigate and comprehend, with options to dive more deeply into data for those who want to, and provides links to many useful resources, websites, and tools. 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 »

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