Automatic enrollment proves controversial

The new health law provision that will automatically enroll individuals in a plan unless they opt out is proving to be controversial. Many businesses say the "default option" could cause confusion among employees who suddenly find themselves in a plan they didn't sign up for and might not want, reports Kaiser Health News.

3 ways insurers can head off confusion, 'rate shock' at next exchange open enrollment

With the 2015 health insurance exchange enrollment period comes a new round of potential problems that insurers should address before enrollment begins. To help prevent--or at least offset--members' price concerns and keep them from jumping ship, the authors shared several tips insurers can take before enrollment begins.

Earnings reports from insurers, hospitals send conflicting messages

The earnings reports from insurers and hospitals for the second quarter of this year have conflicting messages--hospitals are seeing a growth in volume while insurers are seeing a slower cost trend. Aetna, WellPoint and UnitedHealth all said costs are under control and the trends are moderate. And Cigna even lowered its cost outlook, believing the increase this year will be between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent, reported Kaiser Health News.

Lower premium surcharges still prevent smokers from buying coverage

Although insurers are applying lower surcharges on members who smoke than what's allowed under the Affordable Care Act, tobacco users have still been less able than other consumers to afford health coverage, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Consumer-driven plans need more educational tools

If insurers want more people to sign up for consumer-driven health plans, they must provide specific tools and outreach to educate consumers and employers that provide these plans to their workers, reported Business Insurance.

Insurers work to improve health literacy

Healthcare talk is confusing enough for consumers who have a long history of coverage. It is even more so for the newly insured, which include the eight million Americans who purchased coverage during this past enrollment period. 

Medicare spending slowdown could put brakes on Medicare reform

Medicare spending will slow down over the next decade--and although this bodes well for the federal budget it could also slow down Medicare reform, notes a post in the Morning Consult.

Insurers expect consumer competition to soar in 2015

Some of the top names in the healthcare insurance industry expect a drive in competition among consumers in 2015, reports Forbes..

More medical groups turn to high deductible health plans for physician coverage

Medical groups, like hospitals and health systems, now take steps to reduce utilization and trim costs within their health insurance coverage options for physicians and families.

Go mobile to grab young adults' attention

All the kids are doing it these days, and WellPoint CEO Joseph Swedish knows it. What am I talking about? The constant use of smartphones. To capture young consumers' attention, Swedish is...

Kaiser Permanente's Jack Cochran on the path to value-based care

As a way of paying for quality rather than volume, many insurers are moving away from a fee-for-service payment model toward a value-based reimbursement process that focuses more on transparency and accountability, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. To better understand the benefits of a value-based payment model operates, spoke with California-based Kaiser Permanente's Jack Cochran (pictured), M.D., FACS,  executive director of the Permanente Federation in an exclusive interview.

Survey: Healthcare orgs taking a second look at historically generous employee health benefits

As healthcare costs continue to rise, hospitals and other healthcare organizations--which historically provide more generous employee benefits than in other industries--are scrutinizing the health insurance they offer their own employees, according to a new survey.

Poll: ACA popularity at all-time low

Fifty-three percent of Americans held unfavorable views of the Affordable Care Act in July, which is up eight percentage points from last month, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

GAO report cites lack of planning, oversight for was developed without effective planning or oversight--and unless the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services takes steps to improve contract management and governance, upcoming open enrollment periods could face problems, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. The report also highlights five recommendations for CMS. 

6 states, D.C. to use own funds for Medicaid pay raise

Six states and the District of Columbia have decided to use their own funds in 2015 to extend the Medicaid pay raise to primary care doctors, reports Kaiser Health News.

The costly side effects of the Halbig v. Burwell subsidy ruling

About 4.6 million people in 34 states could lose their premium subsidies if an appeals court ruling in Halbig v. Burwell , which states that subsidies are illegal on federal exchanges, stands. What's more, there are roughly 9.5 million uninsured Americans who are eligible for subsidies in states with federal marketplaces, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

AHIP's Ignagni to insurers: Start enrollment outreach early

America's Health Insurance Plans CEO Karen Ignagni expects that insurers will sign up 13 million new consumers during the next health insurance exchange enrollment period. Yet to achieve this, she notes insurers must start their enrollment outreach early and the federal government needs to iron out the remaining kinks in the system, reported Vox.

3 ACO marketing strategies

As more insurers look for ways to implement accountable care organizations, they must successfully sell the new care model to both physicians and consumers, according to a new white paper from healthcare marketing company, Smith & Jones. Here are three of the five marketing strategies included in the white paper.

Exchanges required to provide quality metrics of plans in 2016

Insurers selling plans on the marketplaces must disclose the metrics they use to determine the value and cost-effectiveness of plans by 2016, as a way to improve the overall quality of healthcare. 

Employer mandate grows more unpopular

House Republicans plan to sue President Barack Obama over the administration's willingness to delay penalties associated with the employer mandate, reports the Los Angeles Times.