States Hold Off On Insurance Exchanges; Medicare ACOs Confront Challenges
Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said Thursday that about 30 states will not move forward with state-based exchanges until after the Supreme Court rules and the November elections are finished. She also said her agency is working to streamline the process for early participants in Medicare ACOs.
Modern Healthcare: Most States Holding Off On Insurance Exchanges, Tavenner Says
About 30 states will not move forward on creation of state-based exchanges until after both a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the federal healthcare overhaul and the November presidential election, according to the head of the CMS. Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of CMS, told a Washington gathering of accountable care organization advocates and experts on Thursday that the large number of states waiting for the court ruling and the election outcome before deciding whether to move forward with the insurance marketplaces required by the law is one of her leading concerns (Daly, 6/7).
Modern Healthcare: Medicare ACO Participants Hit Firewall
The earliest participants in Medicare's high-profile accountable care organization program have experienced problems accessing needed CMS data during their first six months of operations, according to the head of the agency. Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the CMS, told ACO advocates, experts and providers at a Washington conference Thursday that the agency was working to streamline ACO participants' access to their Medicare enrollees' data after some of them experienced delays in receiving that information (Daly, 6/7).
In other implementation news -
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Invites States To Apply for Consumer Assistance Grants
Health and Human Services officials on Thursday announced the availability of up to $30 million in grants to beef up state programs that help consumers who are having difficulties with insurance coverage. The programs educate the public about consumer protections they have under the health care law and other statutes, officials said. The programs can also help consumers appeal insurance company claims denials or find out where to obtain coverage (Reichard, 6/7).
The Hill: HHS Says Grants Under Health Law Saved Consumers $18 Million
Consumers saved more than $18 million because of grants provided by President Obama's healthcare law, the Health and Human Services Department said Thursday. HHS touted its grants to Consumer Assistance Programs (CAPs), which help state-based agencies respond to consumers' questions about their coverage. CAPs help people find coverage, assist with appeals when coverage is denied and explain how certain policies work, according to HHS (Baker, 6/7).
Bloomberg: Health Insurer Tax Gives Nonprofits Advantage, Holtz-Eakin Says
Fees that health insurers will be required to pay the U.S. government starting in 2014 will give nonprofits such as Kaiser Permanente a market advantage over corporate competitors, said economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin. The fees -- starting at $8 billion and escalating each year based on the industry’s premium revenue -- aren’t tax deductible. While nonprofits don’t have an income tax, companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) would effectively be paying taxes on the fees they’re handing over to the government, said Holtz-Eakin, chief economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Republican Bush administration from 2001 to 2003 (Wayne, 6/8).