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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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HealthCare.gov One-Year Operating Expenses: $1.8 Billion

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says it needs $1.8 billion (with a "B") to run the federal Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, in fiscal 2015. Officials said about $1.2 billion of that will come from fees tied to Obamacare, but Congress will have to cough up the remaining $600 million. "If Congress funds the […]

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CMS Actuary Predicts Premium Hikes for 11 Million in Small Business

In a just-released report, the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts that 11 million individuals covered by small business health plans will experience premium increases, while 6 million will see reductions. The report pegs the pending rate hikes to the new community rating system implemented by the Affordable Care […]

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CMS Issues Call to Obamacare Insurers to Expand Their Network of Providers

In a letter to all insurers offering health insurance policies on HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday asked the insurance providers to include more federally funded health clinics, safety-net hospitals and other medical providers used by low-income people to their network of service providers. At the same […]

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