Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

The subject of health benefits for Members of Congress often surfaces in political debates, with some implying that Members of Congress enjoy lavish healthcare benefits.  Many citizens would be surprised to learn that the health insurance coverage available to Members of Congress is the same series of health plans...
Policy circles are abuzz with news about Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s creative plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  While details are sketchy and there's no official federal approval yet, the basic idea is to use the federal funding for Medicaid expansion (100% in 2014-2016, no less...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law is apparently here to stay, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in NFIB v. Sebelius and the reelection of President Barack Obama. But health care is not a bygone subject. States this year must determine how they want to handle Health...
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program is tiny compared to better-known public health coverage programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Only about 500,000 Americans in 2010 were eligible for the HCTC program, which pays 72.5 percent of private health plan premiums for workers whose jobs were cut...
State insurance commissioners typically bear most of the responsibility for enforcing health insurance consumer protections. In theory, that will remain the case after broad new consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect. States are expected to be the first-line of enforcement, and the federal...
Prevention and wellness care are widely recognized as means to reduce health costs and spending, while also improving outcomes for patients. Preventive services typically include screenings for diseases, such as cancer, or harmful conditions, such as obesity. They also include immunizations. For example: someone gets a flu shot costing...
A year from now, in January 2014, new health insurance exchanges (HIX) will offer coverage to individuals and small-business employees. Part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the exchanges present vast and complex challenges for states, the federal government, and health insurers weighing whether to participate by becoming qualified...
State Partnership Exchanges are a hybrid model for operation of a Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) under the Affordable Care Act.  In this model, responsibility for Exchange functions is shared between the state and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The other two models are a Federally Facilitated Exchange...
Communication with patients is at the heart of new primary care tools and models that improve outcomes and lower costs, such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and interactive preventive health records (IPHR). Often, communication means electronic communication, and is part of efforts by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health plans to...
The Employer Mandate is one of the many complex new requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law.  Under the Employer Mandate - decorously called Employer Shared Responsibility in the law - most employers must provide health insurance coverage to all full-time employees or pay a penalty...

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