Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Healthcare, Time is of the Essence!

We’ve all heard the expression – “time is of the essence”. But a recent blog post I came across compelled me to share the incredible application of this expression to the health care industry. Not only does effective triage and initial diagnosis portend better outcomes, it also has a significant impact on efficiency and costs. And let’s face it, at a time when health care consumes nearly a fifth of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), finding ways to cut health care costs is critical.
So it got my attention when Dr. Sorensen reported in his blog that – “It is in the first 15 minutes of a medical encounter that up to half of all medical costs are set in motion.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ACA’s Insurance Company Bailouts

These are three (3) of the more than 18 new taxes, fees, and deduction changes that have been created/implemented in order to fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. The later two (2) have not yet been imposed/collected, but the bell rings this year (2014) for their collection and remittance to Uncle Sam. This week I thought I would delve into the ear marking of some of this revenue, and what many are calling the ACA’s “insurance company bailout”.
The ACA contains three (3) separate and distinct “bailout programs” embedded within it’s 2,700 pages. They are the Reinsurance Program (temporary), Risk Adjustment Mechanism,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What’s Causing Health Care Spending to Slow?

Those of us in the health care industry (both delivery and financing) are pleasantly surprised, albeit cautiously optimistic, to learn that health care spending has slowed rather dramatically in recent years. In fact, for the first time ever, the percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) attributable to health care has decreased from 17.3% in 2011 to 17.2% in 2012 ($2.8 trillion). Fellow health care stakeholders may find it interesting that in 1960; health care consumed a mere 5% of our nation’s GDP. Put another way, in 2012 health care spending grew by 3.7%, which is virtually identical to the spending percentage growth in 2009, 2010, and 2011. By contrast, in 2002, health care spending grew by a whopping 9.7%.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ACA Marketplace/Exchange Update

Happy New Year to all my friends, colleagues, and subscribers throughout the land! As you may have noticed, this blog went dormant over the holidays, which was as much a relief for my readers; I’m sure, as it was for me. So now here we are in 2014, and back to business, and weekly blog posts!
I thought I’d start the new year off with a brief update on what’s happening with the public health insurance marketplaces/exchanges. Last month involved a flurry of activity, guidance and extensions announced just prior to the holidays. Here’s the latest;