Archive for December 2013
Pennsylvania is now receiving Medicaid applications from the federal government’s health insurance marketplace website. Improvements in the healthcare.gov web site have enabled the federal government to begin sending data about Medicaid-eligible applicants to a number of states, including Pennsylvania. Until now, the data had been promised but technical problems prevented the federal government from fulfilling that promise. Read more about the process of transforming visitors to the healthcare.gov into Pennsylvania Medicaid applicants in this Reading Eagle article.
Thirty people testified at a recent public hearing in Pittsburgh as the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare continued its tour of the state seeking input on Governor Corbett’s Healthy Pennsylvania proposal and its Medicaid expansion component. Among those who testified were both supporters and critics of the plan. To learn more about the views expressed during the three-hour public hearing, read reports from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A new interactive map from the New York Times enables readers to explore the entire country, county by county – including all 67 counties in Pennsylvania – and see how many of each county’s residents are uninsured, how many are publicly insured, and how many are privately insured. Find the map here.
2012 was a very good year for non-general acute-care hospitals in Pennsylvania: every single one of them scored a positive operating margin. The winners included 19 rehabilitation hospitals, 27 long-term acute-care hospitals, and 19 non-state-operated free-standing psychiatric hospitals, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). Learn more about the performance of these providers in 2012 in this PHC4 news release and this PHC4 report.
Last week the federal government granted Iowa permission to expand its Medicaid program by enabling newly eligible residents to purchase state-approved, subsidized private health insurance. Pennsylvania currently is planning to make a similar request, and Iowa now is the second state to be permitted to move forward in this manner. Arkansas received permission for a similar approach to Medicaid expansion in September. While there are differences between the approved Arkansas and Iowa programs and the approach embodied in the Corbett administration’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposal, the Iowa approval suggests a continued willingness of the federal government to consider private insurance market alternatives to Medicaid expansion. Learn more about the approved Iowa plan in this Kaiser Health News report.
The much-troubled healthcare.gov web site through which people can obtain individual and family health insurance policies has apparently improved enough that Pennsylvanians are starting to find their way into the exchange in pursuit of the insurance they seek. In November, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 10,000 Pennsylvanians obtained insurance through the federal site; 74,000 submitted applications for policies that would cover 137,000 people (applicants and family members); 100,000 established eligibility but have not yet selected a plan; 40,000 established eligibility for insurance premium subsidization; and 6800 were found eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Read more about Pennsylvanians and their November experiences seeking Affordable Care Act-mandated health insurance in this Centre Daily Times report.
The federal government has proposed extending the deadlines for health care providers to demonstrate “meaningful use” of health information technology and receive supplemental Medicare and Medicaid payments to help pay for the acquisition and implementation of that technology. As proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Stage 2 deadlines for demonstrating use of electronic health records, originally set for 2014, would be pushed back to 2016 and Stage 3 deadlines, currently in 2016, would begin in 2017 for qualified providers. Funding for the supplemental payments comes through the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Learn more about the program and why CMS is proposing a delay in this explanation on the CMS … Read More
The federal government is permitting Pennsylvania to delay shifting children currently enrolled in the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into Medicaid. The state has objected to such a transition, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and is in the process of attempting to negotiate a compromise with federal officials. Those federal officials have agreed to delay the required transition until they have an opportunity to review the state’s new proposal, which should be delivered later this week. Learn more about this issue in this article in The (Cumberland County) Sentinel.
The Corbett administration is asking the federal government to authorize the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program to serve another 500,000 people. Healthy Pennsylvania, the reform plan unveiled by the Corbett administration in September, calls for expanding eligibility for Medicaid as envisioned in the federal Affordable Care Act but providing coverage to newly eligible individuals through private insurers Under the plan, most newly eligible recipients would select state-subsidized insurance through the federal health insurance marketplace and receive the same benefits as regular commercial customers. Healthy Pennsylvania also calls for streamlined benefits packages, enrollee premiums, and a work search requirement. The formal unveiling of the plan is linked to the state’s application to the federal government for a waiver from selected … Read More
The problems plaguing the beleaguered healthcare.gov web site continue to make it difficult for people to find new health insurance, but a new approach devised by the federal government will make it easier for Medicaid applicants to overcome this problem. While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was having trouble sending completed Medicaid and CHIP applications to the states, it continued sending them basic data from Medicaid and CHIP applications on a weekly basis primarily to help them gauge possible interest in Medicaid enrollment. Now, it is telling states they can use this limited data to enroll such individuals in their Medicaid programs without complete applications. This process is expected to facilitate enrollment in states that have chosen … Read More