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

Risk adjustment is a key mechanism to ensuring appropriate payments for Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D drug plans, and Medicaid health plans.  Since health plans vary in their mix of healthy and sick enrollees, risk adjustment modifies premium payments to better reflect the projected costs of members served and...
The individual health insurance market undergoes dramatic changes in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, especially for health plans offering coverage through the new Health Insurance Exchanges.  The ACA’s regulatory and financial framework present challenges for health insurers in selling coverage, managing risk, ensuring compliance, and adapting to future...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions to childless adults, through Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchanges, could have broad effects on public health. A recent study gives us one good example of that by showing that pregnant women in Medicaid with tobacco cessation coverage were less likely to smoke...
In the ongoing struggle over wasteful health care spending, geographic cost variation is a veteran hot topic. The fact that public programs and private health plans spend more for providers in some regions, even after accounting for normal differences in costs by location, has irked policymakers and researchers who...
Though most commonly associated with Medicare, Accountable Care Organizations are now making their way into state Medicaid programs. Providers, of course, are an essential part of the ACO model. But many providers don’t yet have the resources to coordinate care, analyze cost and usage data, and adapt to value-based...
Even as Accountable Care Organizations and other payment reform models become more common, there is still not much comprehensive information about which models providers participate in most often, and what exactly to do to make those arrangements work well. It is also important for providers to understand the best practices...
Billy Millwee, former Texas Medicaid director, recently published an excellent piece with insight into that state’s experience with quality-based payment reform. Health care payors, both private and public, are looking more and more to tie payment with outcomes. Millwee’s article is a thoughtful and thorough assessment of Texas Medicaid's...
States and the federal government are doing all they can to make sure the Health Insurance Exchanges - also called Health Insurance Marketplaces - open on time, on October 1 this year. The rush to make sure everything is ready explains some of the recent news to delay certain...
Much about the Health Insurance Exchanges is uncertain, even as the October 1 deadline to make them operational approaches. Many states running their own or partnership exchanges have yet to decide on key elements of plan management, consumer outreach, and other important functions. Exchanges are a genuine game changer...
The federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had a tricky job in setting rules for multi-state health plans (MSP), which eventually will be offered in all states through Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX). The OPM had to take decide how to allow for disparate state and federal requirements for exchange-based plans,...

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