KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: N.C. Health Plan Trustees To Vote On State Employees’ Options; Aetna Signs Deal With Penn. ACO

News outlets report on health care issues in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Florida and Wyoming.

The Associated Press: Vote Could Change Health Insurance For NC State Workers
State employees could lose an option to their health insurance and see costs rise under changes to be considered by the North Carolina State Health Plan board of trustees. WRAL-TV in Raleigh reports that executives who run the health plan have recommended to the trustees that they consider eliminating coverage for spouses, meaning they would likely have to seek coverage through the Affordable Care Act. (2/3)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Aetna, Philly ACO Sign Deal
Aetna Inc. has signed a contract with the Delaware Valley Accountable Care Organization expected to cover 70,000 commercially-insured Aetna members under the care of primary-care physicians in the Philadelphia-area ACO, the Connecticut insurer said Tuesday. The Aetna deal is the first commercial contract for the Delaware Valley ACO, which is owned by Main Line Health, Jefferson Health, Holy Redeemer Health System, Doylestown Health, and Magee Rehabilitiation Hospital. (Brubaker, 2/2)

MLive: State Couldn't Advertise For 'Healthy Michigan' Medicaid Expansion Under Bill
The state Department of Health and Human Services would have to stop spending $2 million per year on advertising for the Healthy Michigan plan under a proposal the Senate Health Policy Committee considered on Tuesday. ... An analysis from the Senate Fiscal Agency states that currently the DHHS spends $2 million on advertising the Healthy Michigan plan, $1 million of which is state and $1 million of which is federal money. "This component is one part of a broader strategy to help educate consumers about other options, about how to get people engaged with their own health," said DHHS Medicaid Director Chris Priest. Original projections were that around 470,000 people would join the Healthy Michigan program. Now, Priest said, enrollment is hovering around 600,000. (Lawler, 2/2)

The Detroit Free Press: Evans Touts Savings From Retiree Health Care Changes
Wayne County’s retiree health care liabilities have dropped 64 percent, according to a news release from the office of County Executive Warren Evans. The reduction, from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $471 million in 2015, follows significant changes to retiree health care in the past year, including, among other changes, the settlement of a lawsuit with retirees that paved the way for stipends in place of more expensive employer-provided health insurance for many. The administration also eliminated employer-provided health insurance for new retirees going forward. (Lawrence, 2/2)

The Associated Press: Kentucky Governor Signs Abortion Bill As Soon As It Arrives
It was quick, albeit unorthodox, when Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed an abortion-related bill into law Tuesday after a delegation of lawmakers presented it to him in his Capitol office. The measure updates the state’s informed consent law requiring women seeking abortions be told of medical risks and benefits at least 24 hours beforehand. The bill’s supporters say some doctors circumvented the requirement by having patients listen to a recorded message on the phone with no interaction. (Schreiner, 2/2)

News Service Of Florida: State Brings On New Prison Health Provider
State corrections officials have hired Centurion of Florida LLC to take over prison health services for more than three-fourths of Florida's 100,000 inmates after Corizon Health walked away from a five-year, $1.2 billion contract three years early. Centurion, a joint venture between Centene Corp. and MHM Services, will be paid a maximum of nearly $268 million to fill in for Corizon, which exercised a 180-day cancellation provision in its contract with the state. (Kam, 2/2)

The Detroit Free Press: U.S., State Agencies Seek Clues To Cause Of Flint Rash
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has begun to investigate the rashes that have plagued many Flint residents since the city changed its water source to the Flint River in 2014. “A key message that I have for folks is that we’re taking the rash concerns very seriously because we know that this obviously is a worry,” Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told the Free Press Tuesday. (Shamus, 2/2)

The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record: Mental Illness Proves Tough, Costly To Fight
As she pulled into the Force Road suburb, Trish Simonson felt her mother's intuition kick in. Something was wrong. The lights were off, but her son, Kaden, hated the dark. Her mind raced. Was it a robbery? What if someone had hurt Kaden? She rushed inside and flipped on the light. The dogs were huddled strangely on the floor. She called out, but Kaden didn't answer. What if ... ? She made her way toward the back of the home, to Kaden's room. The lights didn't work, and it was dark — but not enough to obscure the view. Kaden was dead. He had shot himself. He was just 15. "In half a second he was gone," she said. (Jarmusz, 2/2)

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