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Health Care: Special Deals Abound

The most intriguing mystery of the Senate’s health bill was on page 328 of the final package of amendments assembled by Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., under a subject heading innocuously titled “infrastructure to expand access to care.”

It is a provision that grants $100 million to a single unnamed “health care facility,” located in an unidentified state. The only clues to the beneficiary: The facility must be affiliated with an academic health center that houses the only public dental and medical school in the state.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd , D-Conn., requested the provision, hoping that the University of Connecticut would win the money, a spokesman confirmed. But at least 11 other institutions nationwide seem to fit the criteria and could also apply for the grant.

http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=cqmidday-000003271696

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December 21, 2009 Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , | Leave a comment

Medical Loss Ratios

Florida HMOs Medical Loss Ratio and Administrative Costs as a Percent of Premium Revenue,
1st Quarter 2004 – 1st Quarter 2009
Medical Loss Ratio Administrative Costs as a % of Premium Revenue
1st Qtr 2004 82.0% 10.9%
1st Qtr 2005 81.1% 11.3%
1st Qtr 2006 82.6% 11.7%
1st Qtr 2007 82.2% 9.9%
1st Qtr 2008 83.5% 10.2%
1st Qtr 2009 84.5% 10.0%

Source: Florida Hospital Association (FHA) Eye on the Market: HMO Indicators Report, 1Q04-1Q09

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Cost, healthcare, insurance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Insurance Waiting Periods

Editor’s note: Health Reform legislation allows waiting periods for eligibility. However the waiting periods that exist today on average are better than the requirements in the legislation. Penalties in the Senate bill kick in after 90 days.

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While the average waiting period for eligible workers who face a waiting period for health insurance coverage is 2.2 months,
29% face a waiting period of 3 months or more.

Source: “Employer Health Benefits 2009 Annual Survey,” Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust, September 15, 2009, http://ehbs.kff.org/pdf/2009/7936.pdf

December 21, 2009 Posted by | healthcare, insurance | , | Leave a comment

AMA Backs Health Reform

he nation’s largest physician lobby has officially endorsed the Senate’s health reform package—which cleared key hurdles over the weekend—after it won assurances from lawmakers that they would work to craft a long-term solution for Medicare payment come January 2010.

The original Senate bill included a measure that would erase a 21% pay cut in 2010 with a 0.5% increase, but an amendment, filed on Saturday, squashed the provision.

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20091221/FREE/312219953

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Federal Government, Health care delivery, physicians | , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking for Ways to Make Health Care More Efficient

Editor’s note: Finding ways to extend physician skills in efficient and effective ways are critically important as health reform begins to take hold.

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NowClinic to go nationwide with virtual office visits
NowClinic, which allows physicians and patients to have virtual office visits, is going nationwide, expanding a concept already used regionally. NowClinic will be rolled out state by state through OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, which says the program can help expand access to care. The New York Times

December 21, 2009 Posted by | healthcare, physicians | , , , , | Leave a comment

Medication nonadherence is more common among blacks, study finds

Medication nonadherence is more common among blacks, study finds
A study of 100 black and 100 white patients ages 60 and older found black patients used fewer medications and were more likely to be noncompliant, as well as more likely to have inadequate health literacy skills and more trouble affording their drugs, compared with white patients. However, researchers said that mediation problems, particularly nonadherence, were prevalent in both groups. Yahoo!/HealthDay News

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Chronic conditions, drugs, healthcare, Prevention and Wellness | , , | Leave a comment