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

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...
Special Needs Plans (SNP) are part of the Medicare Advantage program and were created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). There are three types of SNPs, each intended to provide coordinated care for Medicare beneficiaries that meet specific criteria. Institutional SNPs (I-SNP) serve beneficiaries who, for 90 days...
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,...
Fears abound that health insurance premium increases because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will discourage young, healthy people from participating in the Health Insurance Exchanges. But most young people are likely to be eligible for exchange subsidies, softening the sting of so-called premium shock and attracting healthier people to...
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is related to several major chronic diseases. Obesity and diabetes raise your chance of developing high blood pressure, which in turn makes you more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure also becomes more prevalent with age. Those factors make high...
Much of the story about rising health costs and spending has to do with relatively small groups of people with expensive health needs. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions accounted for 93 percent of Medicare spending...
For over a decade, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) has been a source of financial worry for physicians who serve Medicare patients. Medicare’s physician payment rate is based on a composite measure of the cost of care, multiplied by a factor derived from the SGR formula. Every year since...
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has answered some questions about how Arkansas’s creative plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan, which Gov. Mike Beebe put forward, would use federal Medicaid expansion money to give premium subsidies for Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll...
State Medicaid programs will spend about $175 billion this year on health care for dual eligibles - low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid.  State spending on dual eligibles falls primarily in three areas:  long term services and supports (nursing home, home...
Under the new employer mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers will pay about $130 billion in penalties over the next 10 years.  The ACA employer mandate is highly complex and employers have many factors to consider. The employer mandate – called “shared responsibility” in federal law and...

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