CMS Directs Insurers To Start Testing Healthcare.gov; Confidentiality Required
Testers are required to "acknowledge the confidentiality of the process" in order to gain access to the testing environment, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, The New York Times reports on two studies that examine the health law's drug plans as a means to answer questions about how the overhaul is working.
The Wall Street Journal: Healthcare.gov Testing To Be Confidential
The new healthcare.gov is set to open for broad testing by insurers on Tuesday, but they’re not going to be publicly talking -- or tweeting -- about it. On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services emailed insurers that it would require “all testers to acknowledge the confidentiality of this process to access the testing environment,” according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal (Wilde Mathews, 10/7).
The New York Times: Health Law Drug Plans Are Given A Check-Up
When the new health insurance exchanges opened for business one year ago, whether they would succeed was a matter of fervent debate. Who would sign up? Would they know how to use their insurance? And would a flood of seriously ill patients overwhelm insurers, sending premiums skyrocketing and dooming the new law? Two new studies are beginning to answer some of these questions by looking at prescription drugs, one of the most common ways that people use their health insurance (Thomas, 10/7).
In other news related to the health law's implementation, more on health law waivers and wellness programs --
The Associated Press: Health Law Waivers: Too Complicated To Claim?
Millions of Americans may qualify for waivers from the most unpopular part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. But getting that exemption could be an ordeal. Community groups are concerned about a convoluted process for waivers from the law’s tax penalty on people who remain uninsured. Not everyone is complaining, however: Tax preparation companies are flagging it as a business opportunity (10/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Wellness Programs Get A Health Check
Companies are trying to figure out just how far they can go to keep their workers fit and healthy. Employer wellness programs, designed to motivate employees to get in shape and address medical and lifestyle issues, have proliferated in recent years as bosses look for new ways to manage health-care costs. Nearly every major employer has some sort of initiative, many of which reward workers for their participation with discounts on insurance premiums or extra cash in their reimbursement accounts. Those are the carrots. Sticks -- adding a surcharge to premiums for those who don’t complete certain requirements, for example -- are being applied as well. That’s due in part to the Affordable Care Act, which encouraged the growth of wellness programs by increasing both the maximum incentives and the maximum penalties employers may use (Weber, 10/7).