October 2016 Volume 18 Issue 10
Providing Current Information on

Health Insurance Industry Issues and Legislation

Study Quantifies Hospital Price Inflation
A new study by Johns Hopkins University concludes that hospitals are taking
exorbitant markups, mostly in markets in which they face little or no competition.
The researchers found no correlation between price and care quality. Published
in the journal "Health", the study quantifies the differences in markups by hospital
type as well as the range of markups by different hospitals for various tests and
Soaring Deductibles, High Deductible Plans, Less Utilization by
Consumers Slowing Employer Costs
Average premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage increased 3.4% in
2016. That was less than the 4.2% increase in 2016, but still 3 times greater than the
annual overall rate of inflation. These are afew of the findings of the 2016 Kaiser/
HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey. The average annual premium for employersponsored
health insurance for family coverage topped $18,000 for the first time. The
average premium for a high-deductible plan was $16,737 or 8% lower. More than half
of workers in single coverage plans faced deductibles of at least $1000.
Drug Makers' Discount Cards Driving Up Healthcare Costs
Patient advocates tout copay coupons and discount cards as ways to decrease out
of pocket costs for patients with high copays and deductibles. However, their real
business purpose is to steer patients to brand-name drugs, even when cheaper
equivalents or generic brands are available. The result is higher costs for insurers,
employers and the healthcare system at large.
IRS Rules Block Many High-Deductible Plans from
Covering Chronic Care Costs
Under Internal Revenue Service rules, insurers and employers offering highdeductible
plans linked to Health Savings Accounts (HSA) can pay for preventive
services such as mammograms and vaccines, but not for chronic care products
and services until the enrollee has met their deductible requirements. In 2016,
the minimum deductible is $1,600 for individuals and $2,600 for families
enrolled in high-deductible plans with HSAs. In a rare show of bipartisanship,
Congress is working to right this wrong.
Three Star Preferred Provider Program Additions
Freed Lori
Ashland, OR 97520

Bennett Eyecare Midwest-No
Platte City, MO 64079

Big Horn Basin Bone & Joint
Cody, WY 82414

David Cavanaugh
Alexandria, VA 22307

Elite Anesthesia of Florida
New Windsor, NY 12553
Faith Medical Associates
Cleveland, OH 44104

Genesis Healthcare System
Cleveland, OH 44193

Gouveneur Volunteer Rescue Squad
Gouveneur, NY 13642

Northeast Ambulance Services
Ravenna, OH 44266

Pelican Medical Marketing
Frisco, TX 75034