CMS Exempts U.S. Territories from Most Obamacare Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has informed the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands that most Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions do not apply to them. The provisions that do not apply to the territories are guaranteed issue, the community rating rules, the essential health […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

HHS Offers States $100 Million to Improve Medicaid

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is ponying up $100 for states to innovate and improve their Medicaid services and patient care. “Medicaid innovation is moving forward, and the new Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program [IAP], announced in response to recommendations from governors, will give states the opportunity to even further strengthen their great […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

New HHS Secretary to Hire Obamacare Czar

In her first week in office, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has already shaken up the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) personnel structure and announced plans to hire a "marketplace chief executive officer," in other words, a CEO for HealthCare.gov. In addition, she hired Andy Slavitt, group executive vice president of […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

CMS Allows 18 States to Forego SHOP ‘Employee Choice’ Until 2016

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday approved applications by 18 state insurance commissioners to delay offering the "employee choice" option on their Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Under "employee choice," individual employees of a qualifying small business would be able to pick and choose among policies. The states that will not […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

HHS Scraps Program to Audit Medicare Advantage Plans

After uncovering hundreds of millions — potentially billions — in payments to Medicare Advantage health plans for inflated "risk scores," the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) scrapped the audits as too costly this past year, according to a yearlong investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. In 2007 […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

Obamacare Site to Be Revamped, Hosted by Amazon

The administration's 36-state-and-growing health insurance website is undergoing a makeover for the umpteenth time and will now see many of its functions hosted in the cloud by Amazon.com, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among other changes, HealthCare.gov will feature a new application for insurance and a new comparison tool for weighing plan options. The […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

CMS Releases Detailed Physician Medicare Payment Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on physician payments under Medicare in 2012, the first such disclosure in the history of the government-run health care system for those 65 and older. In all, the new "data set has information for over 880,000 distinct health care providers who collectively received $77 […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

Final Deadline for Obamacare Sign-Ups Finally Finalized

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday announced that those who started their health insurance sign-ups on HealthCare.gov but had difficulties could still enroll — but they must do so by Tax Day, April 15, or face a non-compliance tax penalty at the end of the year. "For those in line on […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

Obamacare Enrollments Reach 5 Million, Administration Says

Through yesterday, the administration claims total enrollment in Obamacare health care plans had reached 5 million, 25 percent of them in the 18-35 age group, with March 31 the cut-off for open enrollment. Originally, administration spokespersons said the goal was to reach 7 million enrollments with 40 percent of them "young invincibles," who would rarely […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top

Administration Quietly Puts the Kibosh on the ACA Individual Mandate

People with canceled health insurance plans were recently green lighted to renew those plans through October 1, 2016, or failing that, to purchase Obamacare catastrophic insurance, originally available only for those under 30 years of age. That much we knew. But quietly as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a "Hardship" form […]

Read the rest of this entry »
GoTo top Top