Friday, October 26, 2012

Who can you meet at the 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress

With the future of healthcare appearing in the news daily, you need to know what your company needs to do now so you can take advantage of new opportunities. There is a lot at stake and the timelines are tight. We invite you to join us at the 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress, taking place on November 13-14th in Baltimore.

Don’t let your company fall behind. Join top executives from the following companies to take a tactical approach to developing and implementing a successful health insurance exchange. Make sure you reserve your spot today!

2012 Attending Companies:
A Health Care Market Research Service, Inc. * Aetna Inc. * Allergan Inc. * Amerigroup Corporation * Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. * Blue Cross Blue Shield * Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals * bswift * California Technology Agency * CareSource * Catholic Health Initiatives * Cognosante LLC * Colorado Health Benefit Exchange * D-Wise Technologies Inc. * Dynamic Healthcare Systems Inc. * EngagePoint * Governor Chris Gregoire’s Executive Policy Office * Health Alliance Medical Plans * Health Care For All * Health Connector Authority * HealthLeaders InterStudy * Health Management Associates * HealthPass New York * Highmark * Maryland Health Benefit Exchange * Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector * Mathematica Policy Research * Navigant * New England States Collaborative for Insurance Exchange Systems (NESCIES) * NCQA * Novo Nordisk * Office of Inspector General * OpenView Consulting * OptumInsight * Oregon Health Authority * Quality Health Strategies * Rosetta * State of Connecticut * State of Oregon * State of Rhode Island * State of Utah * Total Medical Management * UnitedHealthcare - Community and State* University of Massachusetts Medical School * University of Pennsylvania * UPMC Health Plan * US Army * Wakely Consulting * Wake Forest University Medical School * Walgreens

Ready to join these companies?  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us at the Health Insurance Exchange Congress this  November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago and save 15% off the standard rate when mention code XP1710BLOG! If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira.




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Times Are A-Changin’. But Will Employers Really Dump Health Insurance Coverage?

Today's guest post comes from bswift.  They will be at the 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress this November 13-14, 2012.  If you'd like to join them, register today and mention code P1710BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate!

Speculation about employers dropping group coverage in 2014 has sparked debate about what pressures will drive evolution of the health insurance market. Most American workers expect funding and access to a health plan through employment. The notion of employers dropping group coverage without simultaneously providing funding and access to individual coverage is na├»ve. Labor demands won’t allow it. That’s not to say that certain employers won’t drop group coverage, but those that do will certainly be pressured to take the money formerly spent on group health insurance and give it to employees in some form. However, employers are unlikely to drop group coverage unless all employees have fair and equal access to individual coverage.

Availability of coverage is not enough – price matters. So how will individual product prices compare with small group or large group plans? Massachusetts commissioned a 2006 study of their marketplace in which they compared individual product prices to small group product prices at a time where both markets were guaranteed issue (GI), but before the Commonwealth merged the two markets. The study revealed that GI individual products were priced about 15% higher than small group products, comparing apples to apples. Some states are certain to keep the individual market pooled separately from small group, and as a result, individual products will be more costly than comparable group plans in those states. For large employers, their self-insured rates will likely trump both individual and small group rates.

For the foreseeable future, large groups will hold together as group health plans mainly based on cost, and many small group markets will offer enough pricing incentive to act as glue for small group health plans. That’s not to say private exchanges won’t make head way, but that many private exchanges that target employer groups will offer group health plans (e.g. Utah Health Exchange, HealthPass New York, Aon Hewitt, etc.) rather than individual health plans.

Let us know what you think. Stop by bswift’s booth at the Health Insurance Exchange Congress in Chicago, November 13-14 to join the conversation.

About bswift
Based in Chicago, bswift offers software and services that streamline benefits, HR and payroll administration. bswift's state-of-the-art Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions significantly reduce administrative costs and time-consuming paperwork, making life easier for administrators and more than one million consumers who enroll in benefits with bswift. For more information, visit www.bswift.com.




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Wednesday, October 24

The debates are over, the elections are just weeks away, and while many states are putting the final touches on their health insurance exchange program, some  are requesting even more resources.

This week in Missouri, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is partnering with Benefitfocus to set up a private insurance exchange for the health insurer’s large-group clients starting early next year. The exchange will be both informative and time efficient. It will allow employees to see which plans they're eligible for as well as how much money they will be spending out of pocket. Benefitfocus CEO Shawn Jenkins said in a release,“Benefitfocus has developed game-changing technology for carriers to support defined contribution as it quickly becomes the preferred funding method for benefits by employers.” The plan will serve around one million residents in Kansas City.

In Minnesota, the Dayton administration will seek between $60 million and $80 million more in federal grants to fund a cornerstone of the federal health care overhaul — a state insurance exchange.Some officials are stating that the administration made their decisions too quickly, resulting in excessive funds. All major decisions have been postponed until the next legislative session.

This Friday, Kevin Galvin, president of the Small Business For A Healthy Connecticut, is organizing a free talk about the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange. Both small business owners and health care advocates are encouraged to attend. “It’s an opportunity for health care advocates and small businesses owners to have a one-on-one conversation with Kevin Counihan about what to expect from the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange,” Galvin said.  

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? The Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Friday, October 19, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Friday, October 19

With November less than a month away some states are completing their exchanges, some waiting, and some still undecided. Today we look at Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

 This week Colorado, small businesses were assured that by 2014, their employees would have both flexible benefits and more insurance options. Patty Fontneau, executive director and CEO of the exchange, assured residents that the exchange will allow them options, not limit or minimize what they have now. “This is a Colorado concept,” she said. “And it will allow more transparency, more data. And if you use a broker, then you can still use one. It’s just easier to look at options. This type of plan just brings more power and more control to small businesses across the board. There are a number of tools that will be available, a number of choices. Businesses can choose any carrier.” Colorado will also continue to allow any small business that is currently using a broker now to use one in the exchange.  

In Pennsylvania, insurance commissioner, Joel Ario, urged the state to set up their own exchange. "I started thinking of the states as speedboats, racing around, zig-zagging, trying things, failing, trying something else," he said. "That's why it would really be a travesty if states don't actually step up and do their own exchanges, because they will be so much better at it than the federal government can be." Pennsylvania was granted over $33 million dollars to set up an exhange, and they have less than a month to set it up. By 2014 all states must have an exchange in order.

Some executives in Maryland are praising the health insurance exchange, citing that it has even improved their employee morale. If state officials have their way, about half of the roughly 730,000 Maryland residents without health insurance will obtain coverage by 2020. A key mechanism to make that happen is the state’s health care exchange, which will operate as a facilitator to small businesses and individuals seeking coverage, Rebecca Pearce, executive director of Maryland’s exchange, said Wednesday during a forum at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. The health insurance exchange will actually allow residents to choose a plan that suits them online, not take their insurance away. They will have more control and be able to compare and contrast a plan that works best for them, but they can't do that without working together first. 

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress is next month!


We are less than one month away from the 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress. This event is the leading provider of timely information presented by experts in health insurance exchanges, this event is the go-to meeting where leading health plans and innovative states share their experiences to prepare for exchange implementation.

For more information on the event, download the agenda: http://bit.ly/T197xt
It will take place November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  As a member of the Healthcare Reform and Health Insurance Exchanges group, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate when you register to join us and mention code XP1710LINK! If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email me at jpereira@iirusa.com or visit the homepage http://bit.ly/Td2I4j. 

Sincerely,
The Healthcare Reform and Health Insurance Exchanges Team
HIX Online
Healthcare Insurance Exchange Congress Homepage: http://bit.ly/Td2I4j
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/healthcarebiz




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Tuesday, October 16

Today, we take a look at some of the factors surrounding the health insurance exchanges.  It's becoming more apparent that companies are finding exchanges a useful tool to distribute health insurance exchanges to their employees.  Others are looking at it as a useful opportunity to collect data to assess certain populations who haven't had extensive health insurance coverage.

Utah has been quiet on it's plans for expanding Medicaid and the future of their exchange.  Governor Herbert has been silent about the state's plans thus far.  While they have an exchange  there are no announced plans to change it to conform with the federal exchange plans or partner with the government to ffer an exchange.  The article at the Salt Lake City Tribune is also the first article that's said the deadline to declare an exchange could possibly be pushed back to December 1.

At the Center For American Progress, they look at the new data that health insurance exchanges will bring in for some populations that have been previously underserved populations, in this particular case, the LGBT population.  They point out that by collecting data on this new population, trends can be identified to develop better healthcare and prevention plans for the population.

The insurance offered by companies may also be transforming into an exchange as well.  According to PYMNTs.com, if companies offer their employees exchanges, they are better able to manage benefit costs and give their employees more power in choosing a plan that will benefit their needs and budget.

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Monday, October 15, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Monday, October 15

Pennsylvania State Flag
Many states are still left at a loss with what the government would like from them in terms of creating their exchanges.  Others are left wondering how to finance their exchanges after the government stops the grants in 2016.

In Minnesota, they've estimated the cost of running an exchange per year is approximately $40 million. With grants, they've been fine reaching that amount.  However, after the government quits giving out grants, the state government is left trying to figure out how to finance it.  According to MPR, the $40 million estimate does not include the amount of money to compensate the insurance brokers, which could add to that number.

Pennsylvania has announced that the likelihood of creating a state run exchange is now slim.  They had originally intended to create an exchange, but did not receive answers from the government as to specifics of the exchange.  They're not alone, 22 other states have signed up for exchange groups with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Fox Business provides an in-depth look at where the Presidential candidates stand on healthcare reform.

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Download the Updated Health Insurance Exchange Congress Brochure

The updated brochure for the 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress is now available. This year's program offers something for everyone, from health plans that want to plan to grow membership to states that want to make sure they are prepared to increase access to care. The 2nd Annual Health Insurance Exchange Congress offers an all-star lineup of experts making sure you are well informed for 2014.


The Health Insurance Exchange Congress will take place November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL. As a reader of this blog, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate when you register to join us and mention code XP1710LINK! If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira.




Friday, October 12, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Friday, October 12


We are less than a month from the November election, and many states are still scrambling with last minute details about their health insurance exchange.

Minnesota has received around $70 million in federal funding to create their health insurance exchange, but the state is saying that it will also cost them $40 million to run the exchange. Minnesota budget officials estimate it could cost the state as much as $40 million to run its health insurance exchange in 2015. The state-based online insurance marketplaces are a cornerstone of the federal health care overhaul. The initial $70 millions was used towards creating contracts, hiring staff, and designing the exchange.

 Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange CEO Kevin Counihan's latest message includes highlights from September, and plans for the future. Counihan discusses the condensed time frame they have to work with, and is also very gracious for the patience and assistance from everyone involved. With the contracting of Deloitte Consulting, we have begun the complicated work of IT architectural design and interface connection for our new integrated eligibility system. This is a 3 ½ year implementation being compressed into 12 months. He then discusses some of the problems that the state is facing, starting with passing the ACA. Finally, although they want a more consumer focused exchange, they won't be able to customize it as much as they had hoped for until 2015.

In New Jersey, Governor Christie has chosen a 'wait and see' plan when it comes to creating a program for his actual state, but he seems to be adamant on moving forward when it comes to his own plans.The dueling priorities of the legislative and executive branches are typical in the state capital these days — Democratic lawmakers come to Trenton to pursue their agenda while the Republican governor hits the road to pursue his. Assemblyman Herb Conaway is hoping the new legislation that includes some of Christie's suggestions will finally get passed, especially with November being less than a month away.

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!  




Thursday, October 11, 2012

Download the Brochure for the 10th Annual Medicare Congress

The brochure for the 10th Annual Medicare Congress, the longest running, largest and most respected Medicare event is now available to download! Our mix of keynotes, real life case studies and networking opportunities are unmatched by any other event.


For the 10th annual Medicare Congress we’re heading back to Arizona on February 11 – 13, 2013, and are looking forward to providing you with new opportunities to learn and network.

Attend this year's event to hear the latest updates on Medicare including:
  • - Best practices for member acquisition, engagement and retention including strategies to best serve Medicare's digital customer
  • - Real world examples on how to achieve financial stability through stellar patient care management and physician engagement
  • - Ensure plan sustainability (and job security!) by building benefits sure to survive this period of tighter budget constraints and a growing Medicare-eligible population
As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1807BLOG to receive 15% off of the standard rate when you register to join us! If you have any questions about the agenda or event, feel free to Jennifer Pereira.




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Wednesday, October 10

North Carolina State Flag
As we get closer to the election, we are seeing more news about how various parties are being affected by the Affordable Care Act and how states are dealing with these issues that concern their citizens.

Under the new law, businesses only have to provide insurance to those employees who work over 30 hours a week.  In an article at the Huffington Post, they look at how this will affect work hours and examine whether or not companies will cut back to save on costs.

In Kansas, many healthcare providers feel that the next presidential election will bring tremendous change to their system.  Those will prexistising conditions and those relying on insurance provided by the healthcare mandate will be most affected should the Republicans be elected into office.  Doctors are worried about how the payments from the government will affect their bottom line, as currently most of what doctors make currently goes to running their office and paying their employees according to the Wichita Eagle.

The San Antonio Express News looks at how insurances are preparing for the influx of business that the Affordable Care Act is poised to bring.  Maryland and California are the only states poised to be ready open their exchanges on time.  WellPoint has been making plans to aggressively sell through the exchanges as well as through employer exchanges to expand their reach.

CFO has also posted Part 2 of their series The Case for Private Insurance Exchanges.

And finally, in North Carolina, 200 business leaders have met with doctors, hospitals and insurers to figure out how to lower the cost of healthare overall according to WRAL.  They would like to make the predictions for healthcare spending year over year predictable.  The article believes there is a way to contain the 30% of spending that is believed to be spent on waste and redundancy.  They also poin tout that  the healthcare system should focus on quality, not quantity and wellness care.

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Tuesday, October 9

Mississippi State Flag
Is the new Affordable Care Act law pushing the private sector insurance companies to start running their own internal exchanges?  Today, we see a continuing trend that insurance exchanges in the private industry are now on the rise.

In Idaho, they're examining their options for creating a state run exchange and hit the federal requirements and timelines that were set in place.  Modeled much after how Hawaii came to create their exchange, they will tinker with the Idaho Health Data Exchange to fit the needs of the new requirements.  According to the Spokesman -Review, they would need a state established private  non-profit corporation.  This currently isn't established in the state.

Following up on our story from Wednesday, October 3, CFO Magazine has an in-depth look at the current transition of many companies switching to exchanges in order to provide their employees health insurance.  They believe that these could be the future of private exchanges   It is still up for debate whether or not the having a single carrier or multiple carriers has an influence on the price.

Mississippi is a "State of Misery" where poor health, poverty and crime are all at disturbing levels.  Over 19% of the population, approximatly 19%, have no health insurance.  Although the governor has decided not to expand Medicaid, but Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is working to get a state run exchange moving.  His goal is to create the exchange then hand it over to a non-profit that will provide the subsidized insurance according to Bloomberg Business Week.

Minnesota has created the exchange and has a prototype of what it will look like online.  Check it out here.  They are also unique as they have involved their state citizens thorughout the creation of the exchange base don these six principles: Universal coverage, High quality, affordable health care, Consumer friendly, Eliminate health disparities, Accountable and Competition according to Health in Minnesota.

Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Friday, October 5, 2012

Health Insurance Exchange Update: Friday, October 5


The first presidential debate took place this week, and while many states are finalizing their programs, some states are still deciding which health insurance program is right for them.

New Jersey has until the 16th of November to determine whether it will create its own marketplace or not and Senator Christie seems to be in no rush to make a decision. “I won’t make a decision until I have to. I don’t have to make one until the 16th, so I want to make sure I’m as fully informed as I can be,” he said. “That’s ultimately our call.It’s an executive branch call and we’ll make the call,” said Christie. Part of the bill has been cleared by the senate, as of Thursday 21 to 17. However, some are still arguing that patients will not benefit from the bill. 

Vermont has approved six insurance plans, and recently denied dental coverage to the Vermont Health Benefits Exchange. However, the premiums, which won’t be decided until next summer, are causing concern for many. The board is concerned that two of the six plans will leaveVermont’s low-income residents with high health care costs in times of greatestneed. At the end of the meeting, board member Al Gobeille proposed that the board hire a professional to analyze current access to dental care, how it is financed and how it is organized. By November 15th they are expected to have an outline.

The state of Washington decided to prepare early when considering which health insurance program would work best for them. They predict that their program will be used as an example when other states create their federal exchanges. It will have the one-stop function for qualifying and applying for Medicaid, the children’s state health insurance program, an insurance plan, cost-sharing reductions and tax credits, as well asa shopping tool to compare plans and coverage. Many states are comparing the exchange to travel sites because there will be options that suit the needs of each individual.


Want to learn more about the health insurance exchange? This November, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Much Ado About Healthcare



The first debate took place last night in Colorado, and regardless of the winner, there was a heated discussion about the future of our healthcare somewhere in those 90 minutes. Although the two parties disagree on how to implement a plan to rebuild our healthcare system, it appears that the foundation for the idea comes from the same blue print.

Romney claims that the healthcare plan he has established and executed in Massachusetts is a ‘form’ of Obama's. He also claims that he worked with both republicans and democrats to establish his successful healthcare plan in Massachusetts. Romney also cited a McKinsey study, that up to 30% of employees could be dropped for coverage through Obama's plan. The White House pushed back against McKinsey's findings at the time, noting that reports by organizations such as the Rand Corporation didn't find large numbers of companies planning to drop coverage.

Obama retaliated saying the plan was not only bipartisan, but also a republican idea. He also assured the plan would contain lower group rates,that children will be covered up to age 26, and that if you have insurance, this plan essentially protects you.   

Don't miss the Vice Presidential Debate on October 16th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. In the meantime check back with us for daily HIX updates. And if you want to learn more, the Health Insurance Exchange Congress will be held November 13-14, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  Here, state officials and health plans with the only opportunity to come together to discuss PPACA and strategize on how to make this a successful opportunity for all.  For more information on this year's agenda, download the program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1710BLOG, you'll receive 15% off the standard rate!