News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Healthcare Job Growth Reflects Aging Population, Newly Insured
HealthLeaders Media

The 311,000 new jobs created by the healthcare industry in 2014 represent the largest year of job growth in the sector in the past seven years, and it may suggest that providers are more comfortable with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while acknowledging the challenges of care access for an aging demographic.

Healthcare created 10% of the 2.95 million new jobs in the overall economy in 2014. The 311,000 new jobs in healthcare last year represent 2% of the 14.9 million people employed in the sector at the end of 2014. That includes 6.8 million people in ambulatory care, 4.8 million in hospitals, and 3.3 million in nursing and residential care.

News Headlines Article

Tax penalties for no health insurance double in 2015
Sacramento Business Journal

The cost of not having health insurance will more than double this year — and there’s about a month left to sign up for private insurance under Covered California. The Affordable Care Act requires individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty at tax time. The amount is based on the greater of two factors: a flat fee or percentage fee based on income above the federal tax filing threshold. In 2015, penalties are $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, up to $975 per family — or 2 percent of family income above the federal tax filing threshold.

News Headlines Article

Flu Vaccination Pressure Ratchets Up at Hospitals
HealthLeaders Media

With Medicare’s latest quality update on Hospital Compare last month, one measure reported for the first time makes some hospitals look relatively unsafe for vulnerable patients and co-workers at risk for influenza.

One of the largest is Broward Health Coral Springs Hospital in South Florida. Only one in five of Broward’s 2,500 healthcare workers received a flu shot last season, a rate that put it near the bottom of the list of more than 3,600 hospitals that reported their rates as part of a federal quality reporting program.

News Headlines Article

U.S. Funding of Health Research Stalls As Other Nations Rev Up
National Public Radio

Though the United States is still leading the world in research related to diseases, it is rapidly losing its edge, according to an analysis in the American Medical Association’s flagship journal JAMA.

If you look at biomedical research around the globe, the United States funded 57 percent of that work a decade ago. The U.S. share has since dropped to 44 percent, according to the study published online Tuesday.

News Headlines Article

New Obamacare enrollments in California top 217,000
Los Angeles Times

California’s health insurance exchange said 217,146 people have newly signed up for Obamacare coverage after nearly two months of open enrollment.

The Covered California exchange said Tuesday the number of applications slowed during the holidays, but it remains confident of reaching its 2015 goal for health-law enrollment.

During the initial rollout of the Affordable Care Act, 1.2 million people had purchased a private health plan through Covered California.

News Headlines Article

New applications for Covered California, Medi-Cal top 1 million
Sacramento Business Journal

More than 1 million Californians have applied for health insurance through Covered California or Medi-Cal since the second annual open enrollment began on Nov. 15, program officials announced Tuesday. This includes 304,394 consumers deemed eligible for Covered California and 217,146 who went on to pick a plan through the state health benefit exchange by Jan. 11. Another 466,776 people signed up for Medi-Cal by Jan. 11 and 110,913 more appear eligible for the program.

News Headlines Article

California health exchange seems on track to meet second-year goals
The Mercury News

State health insurance exchange officials Tuesday said they’re on track to reach their goal of signing up at least 500,000 new enrollees by Feb. 15, the deadline for the second open-enrollment period under the nation’s health care law.

“We’re quite confident we will hit” the target, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said during a news conference. As of Sunday, Lee said, 217,146 more Californians had signed up for a private health care plan under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, since Year Two enrollment kicked off on Nov. 15.

News Headlines Article

Health exchange deadline approaches
San Diego Union-Tribune

Hurry up already.

That was the message delivered Tuesday by Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Lee said with only slightly more than a month left for the open-enrollment period, at least 300,000 Californians have not selected a plan on the exchange even though they qualify to do so. Failure to sign up can result in a financial penalty come tax time.

News Headlines Article

Congresswoman hosts informational Affordable Care Act events
The Mercury News

The last two Saturdays in January, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA14) will host, “Healthcare 411: Information & Advice about the Affordable Care Act.” The events, held respectively in Daly City and San Mateo, will feature workshops on how to navigate California’s health insurance exchange website. There will also be one-on-one informational appointments with insurance exchange experts and free preventative health screenings.

News Headlines Article

Health plan association promotes key staffers
Sacramento Business Journal

The California Association of Health Plans has promoted Nicholas Louizos to vice president of legislative affairs and Athena Chapman to director of state programs. The changes follow the retirement of former president and chief executive officer Patrick Johnston late last month. Charles Bacchi took his place. The association represents 42 health plans that provide coverage to 22 million Californians during a period of huge change in the health care industry.

News Headlines Article

Anthem predicts healthy 2014, looking for ‘opportunistic’ deals
Modern Healthcare

Anthem expects its full-year 2014 profitability to be at the high end of its estimates as it benefits from slow utilization among its insured healthcare consumers. The insurer will continue to explore health plan acquisitions and will actively monitor how consolidation transpires in the sector.“We are very confident in our ability to win in the new marketplace,” Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.Adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2014 are projected to be $8.85, the top of its outlined estimate announced in the third quarter.

News Headlines Article

Sutter Health’s new HMO gets ready to take on state’s health-plan giants
San Francisco Business Times

Sutter Health Plus, the new in-house HMO at Sutter Health, lost $5.1 million in the third quarter, and $13.1 million cumulatively through Sept. 30, on $21.25 million in revenue, the Sacramento health system confirmed. Its first year of operational results began Jan.

Commands