News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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CMS moving forward with pay changes for rehab despite opposition
Modern Healthcare

Despite opposition from hospitals, the CMS is moving forward with a proposal to further restrict when Medicare will pay for inpatient rehabilitation services. But those changes won’t be implemented until Oct. 1, 2015, according to a final rule issued by the agency on Thursday.

In order to qualify as an inpatient rehabilitation facility, at least 60% of its admissions must be tied to one or more of 13 medical conditions, such as spinal cord injury, amputation or brain injury.

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California’s proposed 2015 Obamacare premiums to rise 4 percent in 2015
Reuters

Healthcare premiums will rise an average of 4.2 percent in 2015 on California’s health insurance exchange, the largest of the state marketplaces established by President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, state officials said on Thursday.

Ten companies will sell plans for 2015 through Covered California, three fewer than this year, said the exchange’s Executive Director Peter Lee. Opponents of Obama’s healthcare reform, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, have warned for months that 2015 premiums would soar due to the high medical costs of the first wave of enrollees who, they claimed, are older and sicker than the general population.

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California pharmacy board delays action on translating drug labels
Sacramento Bee

The California State Board of Pharmacy steered away Thursday from a decision on whether pharmacies should be required to translate prescription drug labels for limited-English speakers and passing the issue to another committee for further discussion.

Several speakers at Thursday’s meeting urged the board to require printed translated labels on prescription bottles, arguing that the verbal interpretation does not go far enough for patients with limited English.

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Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors
National Public Radio

An influential report that urges sweeping changes in how the federal government subsidizes the training of doctors has brought out the sharp scalpels of those who would be most immediately affected. The reaction also raises questions about the sensitive politics involved in redistributing a large pot of money — mostly from Medicare — that now goes disproportionately to teaching hospitals in the U.S. Northeast. All of the changes recommended would have to be made by Congress.

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California exchange insurance rates for 2015 draw mixed reaction
Los Angeles Times

The 4.2% increase in Obamacare insurance rates in California for 2015 announced Thursday drew an enthusiastic reaction from activists and insurers. But there was also some skepticism.

“This is a rebuke to all the Obamacare naysayers and political opponents who predicted double-digit rate increases,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of consumer advocacy group Health Access.

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Obamacare: New California rates increase only 4.2 percent
The Mercury News

Most consumers who bought health care plans through Covered California, the state’s health-insurance exchange, will see low rate hikes in 2015, while some will see no increase or even a decrease, exchange officials said Thursday.

The average California rate hike of the plans created by the nation’s health care law will be 4.2 percent, but some plans will offer average rates that are 8.5 percent lower.

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Average rate hike for Covered California next year: 4.2%
San Francisco Business Times

People who buy insurance through Covered California for 2015 are likely to see an average rate increase of 4.2 percent in their health care premiums for 2015, health benefit officials announced Thursday. About 16 percent of consumers could see their rates stay flat or go down. Thirty-five percent could see hikes between zero and 5 percent, while 36 percent could get increases between 5 and 8 percent — and 13 percent of consumers could get a rate increase as high as 8 to 10 percent, executive director Peter Lee said at a morning press conference.

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California Sees Health-Law Premiums Rising 4.2% in 2015
The Wall Street Journal

Premiums for health-law plans in California will go up 4.2% on average next year, an increase that the state’s insurance marketplace said was limited partly due to the large and relatively healthy pool of enrollees it had attracted.

Nationally, 2015 rate changes for plans sold through marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act will vary widely, with a mix of increases and some declines. But California is seen as a bellwether.

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Obamacare premiums to rise a modest 4.2% in 2015
Los Angeles Times

Defying an industry trend of double-digit rate hikes, California officials said the more than 1.2 million consumers in the state-run Obamacare insurance exchange can expect modest price increases of 4.2% on average next year.

On Thursday, Covered California announced the results of its negotiations with Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and other major insurers, an important yardstick for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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California health exchange touts 4.2 percent increase in rates for 2015
Sacramento Bee

California’s health insurance exchange officials announced Thursday that the average premium will increase an average 4.2 percent for the coming year, touting the lower-than-usual figure as evidence that the federal health care overhaul is making coverage affordable for millions of residents.

Covered California tentatively chose 10 health insurers to participate in the exchange and will open enrollment for the second time on Nov. 15.

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Covered California announces 2015 health insurance rates
San Francisco Chronicle

Covered California‘s health insurance rates will go up an average of 4.2 percent next year, a proposed increase that supporters of President Obama’s health law hailed as a victory.

Peter V. Lee, Covered California’s executive director, said Thursday that 16 percent of consumers will either see no hike or even a small decrease in their rates. Rates could go up as much as 5 percent for 35 percent of policyholders, and 36 percent could get increases between 5 and 8 percent. About 13 percent of consumers could get hit with increases of 8 to 10 percent.

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Same plans, average local rate hike for Covered California: 3.7%
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California will offer the same five health plans in the Sacramento region in 2015 as the program does today, but there’s a big difference in proposed rate increases. Western Health Advantage, Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross will offer health maintenance organization plans again next year. Anthem and Blue Shield of California will continue to offer preferred provider organization plans.

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Californians to see increase in health plan costs
Lodi News-Sentinel

Californians buying individual health plans on the state’s exchange will see their premiums rise by an average of 4.2 percent in 2015, about half the increase the industry has seen in the past three years, officials announced Thursday. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the proposed rates suggest the state has been able to slow down health care costs while reducing the number of uninsured as the exchange enters its second enrollment year under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul.

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2015 HIX Premium Hikes May Top 7%
Health Leaders Media

Nationwide, increases in proposed 2015 premium rates in the individual health insurance market, which includes the new public exchanges, are trending between 7 percent and 8 percent, according to data collected by New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC.

“It seems to be staying in that single-digit range,” Caitlin Sweany, senior manager at PwC’s Health Research Institute, said on Thursday. “We’ve [analyzed] several iterations of this data.”

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CMS Confirms ICD-10 Deadline
Health Leaders Media

HHS will release the final rule, Administrative Simplification: Change to the Compliance Date for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD–10–CM and ICD-10-PCS) Medical Data Code Sets, in the Federal Register August 4.

The one-year delay will allow US healthcare providers to reap the benefits of ICD-10 as soon as possible and is also the least expensive option, HHS stated in the final rule.

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A Check-Up On Obamacare In California
KPBS

There’s good news and not-so good news in new evaluations of the first few months of the Affordable Care Act in California.

A new survey on the effects of the Affordable Care Act show that it’s been successful in signing up more than half of the uninsured in California. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that roughly 3.4 million previously uninsured Californians obtained health care coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California.

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