April 2017 Volume 19 Issue 4
Providing Current Information on

Health Insurance Industry Issues and Legislation

Republicans Seek to Increase Small Business Healthcare Insurance Clout
As part of its effort to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republicans introduced the Small Business Health Fitness Act of 2017. Under the bill, small businesses could buy coverage through associations that would, theoretically, give them greater clout in their negotiations with healthcare insurers. It would also give them more flexibility in what they cover. It is likely to be part of any revamped healthcare package brought forward by the administration.
High-Deductible Plans Still Leave Hospitals Holding the Bag
Million of previously uninsured Americans signed up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Many chose high-deductible plans that leave them with hospital bills they still can't pay. Hospitals are now finding that payment rates for those in these narrow-networks mirror those of the uninsured and they being left holding the bag.
Telehealth It's Convenient But Is It Cheaper?
Telehealth visits are convenient time-savers for patients but appear to be increasing total healthcare spending. Based on a RAND study, the cost to insurers plus outof- pocket payments are higher than for patients who saw their doctors. The RAND researchers explain why.
Government to Investigate Potential Abused of Orphan Drug Act
Spending on rare-disease drugs is skyrocketing and is expected to account for over 21% of worldwide prescription sales by 2022. Are pharmaceutical companies abusing the Orphan Drug Act to maximize profits and protect niche markets for medications taken by millions? Many, including the 3 U.S. Senators who requested the investigation, think so and now the Government Accounting Office will investigate to find out.
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