CMS is accepting grant applications from individuals and organizations seeking to serve as navigators in the Affordable Care Act's federally run and partnership health insurance exchanges. The agency said it expects to distribute up to $54 million total. Modern Healthcare et al.
Beginning on Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act required health insurers to provide nursing mothers with breast pumps, but the law does not specify the type of pump health plans must provide or for how long women qualify after giving birth. Some California women have had their requests for breast pumps denied by their health plans. HealthyCal.
Some state officials are concerned that there is not enough time to test their health insurance exchanges before enrollment begins on Oct. 1. The head of Washington state's exchange said the program will be a "work in progress." Modern Healthcare, USA Today.
CalPERS is auditing health plans to ensure that the 733,000 dependents receiving coverage through CalPERS are eligible for such benefits. CalPERS research found that 4% to 8% of dependents on employer-sponsored health plans in others states were ineligible. CalPERS could save more than $1,300 for removing each ineligible dependent from the health plan. Capitol Public Radio's "KXJZ News."
On Wednesday, the UC-Riverside School of Medicine announced that it received a two-year, $3 million grant from Kaiser Permanente Southern California. The grant will be used to fund outreach efforts and scholarships for eight of its 50 incoming students. UC-Riverside's medical school is slated to open this fall. Riverside Press-Enterprise.
To avoid new Affordable Care Act requirements, some insurers plan to let members renew their current coverage through the end of 2014. However, Kaiser Permanente has said it will not renew policies beyond Jan. 1, 2014, in California and in most other states. Los Angeles Times.
A report from HHS' Office of Inspector General finds that CMS does not adequately oversee the "Plan Finder" website that it established to help consumers find coverage prior to the launch of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. Modern Healthcare, CQ HealthBeat.
Vermont has published proposed rates from two health plans serving residents who will purchase individual coverage through the state's health insurance exchange. Vermont is the first state to post such information as required by the Affordable Care Act. AP/Boston Globe et al.
A Society of Actuaries report predicts that health insurers will pay about 32% more for medical claims under the Affordable Care Act, which could lead to premium hikes for consumers. Covered California officials described the report as "misleading." AP/U-T San Diego et al.
On Monday, the Ventura County Medi-Cal Managed Care Commission voted 5-3 to approve a 90-day contract extension for an executive services firm to help Gold Coast Health Plan -- an HMO-style alternative for certain Medi-Cal beneficiaries -- address financial and staffing issues. Some commissioners raised concern about the cost of the contract extension. Ventura County Star.
The Department of Justice and the state of Michigan have discontinued their antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. DOJ said that a new state law banning a controversial contracting practice makes the suit unnecessary. Modern Healthcare, Wall Street Journal.
After reaching a deal with local unions, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted to select Concord as the site of a call center for the California health benefit exchange. Meanwhile, a Contra Costa Times editorial criticized the "last-minute" deal, noting that hours before the vote, "there was still no publicly available financial analysis telling supervisors and Contra Costa taxpayers what risk they would be taking on." Contra Costa Times, San Ramon Express.
Last week, GOP members of a House subcommittee argued that provisions of the Affordable Care Act would lead to health insurance premium hikes for young adults in the individual and small-group markets. Democrats said that such claims are overblown. The Hill's "Healthwatch" et al.
Stakeholders are awaiting the release of a draft version of the application for California's health benefit exchange. Sam Karp -- vice president of the California HealthCare Foundation -- said the state should strive to provide a consumer-friendly process for enrolling in the exchange. KQED's "State of Health."
A San Jose Mercury News editorial argues that Congress should pass a bill by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would grant the HHS secretary the "power to examine health insurance premiums and deny unjustified or excessive rate hikes," which continues to be a problem in California and 16 other states that lack such authority. The editorial adds that if Congress does not pass Feinstein's bill, "Californians should protect their own interests with a ballot proposition planned for 2014." San Jose Mercury News.