Third day of litigation of Affordable Care Act still focused on insurance mandate, Justices touch briefly on Medicaid expansion

The third day of arguments concerning the Affordable Care Act took place on Wednesday this week. Though the schedule laid out by the Supreme Court earlier this month indicated that the third day of litigation would concern the health care law’s changes to Medicaid and Medicare, the Court’s Justices were keen to keep their attention on the law’s health insurance mandate. Justices are no longer focusing on the constitutionality of the mandate; however, they are now seeking an answer to a simple question: Can the health care law survive if…

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Insurers to disclose information regarding their efforts to improve medical care this year

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that consumers will begin receiving information on how their premiums are being spent this year. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to spend no less than 80% of the money they collect from premiums on improving medical care. The federal law also requires insurers to inform consumers on how this money is being spent and how much has been spent thus far. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius believes that this is a major step toward keeping insurance companies accountable…

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Some preventive tests may be covered under new healthcare overhaul, others are not

Though many preventive tests –colonoscopies, for example – are covered by the new healthcare reforms, patients are still being urged to understand various loopholes that still exist, where supplementary insurance can help to prevent unexpected expenses. For instance, though a colonoscopy – a preventive colon cancer screening test – may be covered, if its practice should involve an additional procedure, such as the removal of a noncancerous polyps during the test (which is a very common practice), that additional work is considered to be a procedure and is no longer…

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HHS awards grants to 13 states, releases new FAQ to help lawmakers build policies regarding health insurance exchanges

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than $220 million to 13 states working toward building their own health insurance exchanges. The money is part of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges program which funnels money to states in order to help them adhere to the federal mandate. The money will give these states more flexibility when it comes to building an exchange, allowing them to explore alternative management systems and ways to make the exchange program more efficient. Exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act and each…

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Wyoming looks to build its own health insurance exchange

Wyoming has taken its first tentative steps in building its own health insurance exchange. The state has launched the Wyoming Health Benefits Exchange Steering Committee. The members of the committee are tasked to examine the benefits and failings of an exchange program and determine how the state can successfully implement such system. While the federal health care law is shrouded in uncertainty as it awaits a constitutionality ruling from the Supreme Court, Wyoming legislators are not willing to spend more time speculating on the exchange. According to federal law, each…

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Georgia launches panel to investigate the virtues of a health insurance exchange

Georgia is outspoken in its opposition to the federal health care reform, as are many other Southern states. Despite the efforts of these states to have the law declared unconstitutional, the law remains in place and states are still required to establish health insurance exchange programs. Unwilling to allow the federal government to take charge of the exchange if it cannot make the 2014 deadline, Georgia has launched a new panel of insurance experts and legislators to explore how an exchange would serve the people of the state. In terms…

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Fate of the insurance industry may rest upon the Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal health insurance mandate

The future of the Affordable Care Act will soon rest in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. The law, passed last year, has generated an overwhelming amount of controversy surrounding the various provisions it seeks to enact. No provision is more controversial than the health insurance mandate, which requires all U.S. citizens to purchase some kind of health insurance by 2014. To date, 26 states have filed lawsuits against the federal government seeking to have the law deemed unconstitutional. Judges in these states have already branded the law as…

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