KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Wide Variation In Indigent Care Among California Counties, Report Finds

A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, Oregon and Iowa.

The Associated Press: New Hampshire House, Senate Panels Consider Medicaid Expansion
House and Senate committees are holding public hearings and work sessions on rival plans to expand Medicaid in New Hampshire this week. The House holds its public hearing Tuesday morning while the Senate's hearing on its plan is that afternoon. The committees working on the bills will vote on a recommendation Thursday, but whatever they decide may be superseded by any compromise negotiated behind closed doors by legislative leaders and Gov. Maggie Hassan (11/10).

Kaiser Health News: How Much Is That X-Ray? Still Hard To Say, Even In Massachusetts
Finding out how much an X-ray costs sounds like a simple question. But it is actually very difficult to get an answer. In Massachusetts, a new state law requires insurers to be able to tell members how much a test, treatment or surgery will cost. But while the new law pulls back the curtain on prices of health procedures to some degree, the burden is still on the patient to ask for information. And, as a recent test drive of the new law showed, there are quite a few hoops for patients to jump through (Bebinger, 11/9).

California Healthline: New Report Highlights Needs Of California's Residually Uninsured Residents
A report released yesterday by Health Access, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy group, shows a wide variation in indigent care from county to county in California. That variation is particularly important now, said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, because counties will decide in the next two weeks how their indigent care will be designed (Gorn, 11/8).

The Lund Report: New Insurance Data Could Put Insurers On Hook For 2015
The Oregon Health Policy Board appears poised to recommend that insurance companies report a set of cost containment metrics in their April rate filings. The data could create a baseline to make them more accountable for future cost increases (Gray, 11/7).

Des Moines Register: Iowa Gets A Health Insurance Reprieve
Iowa’s dominant insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, decided in June to extend current plans for individuals and small businesses until Dec. 30, 2014 (Leys, 11/11).

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