California Health Exchange Shows 4.2 Percent 2015 Premium Increase

 

Covered California, the nation’s largest state-based health insurance Exchange, released data on July 31, 2014 showing a 4.2 percent average rate of increase in premiums for health plans in 2015. The California Exchange has tentatively selected ten health insurance companies for the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. The 4.2 percent increase is an overall weighted average that takes into account the statistical distribution of enrollees in 2014 as well as differences in premium rates among the ten companies, the types of plans (PPOs, HMOs, etc.) offered by each company, cost-sharing options available to consumers under each plan, other actuarial variables (such as enrollee age) allowed in premium rate setting for enrollees, and 19 geographic rating areas in California. [More]

 

US Department of Justice Requests Review of Adverse Judgment Concerning ACA Subsidies

 

On Friday, August 1, 2014, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the full (11 Justices) panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the divided decision of a 3-judge panel, which held that subsidies “can be provided only in states that have set up their own” Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

ED Provides Guidance for LEA Communication about Student Data Privacy

 

In a July 25, 2014 press release, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new guidance to assist local education agencies (LEA) to inform parents and students about the collection and use of student data. ED Secretary Arne Duncan said, “Now more than ever, schools need data to monitor academic progress and develop successful teaching strategies. At the same time, parents need assurance that their children’s personal information is being used responsibly. This guidance helps schools strike a balance between the two.” [More]

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Categories:Education

 

U.S. Circuit Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging ACA Based on Constitution’s Origination Clause

 

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) mandate to purchase health insurance violated the U.S. Constitution’s Origination Clause, which requires revenue-sharing bills to start in the U.S. House of Representatives rather than the Senate. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

NEJM Report Shows 10.3 Million Persons Gain Coverage

 

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a special report on July 23, 2014 estimating a net increase of 10.3 million insured adults aged 18 - 64 during the October 2013 – March 2014 open enrollment period offered through health insurance Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The study used Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) survey data from 440,429 survey respondents and linear regression models accounting for socio-economic variables to calculate adjusted average rates of uninsured adults aged 18 – 64 before and after the 2013-2014 open enrollment period. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Courts Issue Conflicting Opinions on Federal Exchanges

 

The United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling on July 22, 2014 stating that a regulation issued by the Internal Revenue Service allowing taxpayers to obtain advance premium tax credits (APTCs) for qualified health plans available through federal Exchanges was not authorized under section 36B(c)(2)(A)(i) of the Internal Revenue Code as established by section 1401 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ruling (in Halbig v. Burwell) was handed down by a three judge appeals panel, not the Circuit Court’s full bench. The appeals panel’s ruling was 2-1, with comprehensive majority and dissenting opinions. The majority opinions in this ruling stressed that section 36B(c)(2)(A)(i) mentions APTCs available through Exchanges “established by the State” but fails to mention federal Exchanges. [More]

 

HHS Announces Health Care Innovation Awards

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), announced a new batch of “round two” health care innovation awards on July 9, 2014. These are grants to applicants who have set forth compelling new ideas to improve care and control costs for persons enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Kaiser Commission Releases Report on Successful SBEs

 

The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released an excellent report on July 20, 2014 about the successful state-based health insurance Exchanges (SBEs) and Medicaid expansions in Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, and the State of Washington. The report, “What Worked and What’s Next? Strategies in Four States Leading ACA Enrollment Efforts,” includes interviews with stakeholders in each state about exemplary marketing, outreach and enrollment, consumer assistance, and systems/operations strategies, with insights on 2014 and lessons for 2015. It shows that each of the states marketed the coverage expansions as state-based initiatives; conducted statewide marketing via a wide range of methods, including social media and promotional materials; and emphasized the enrollment deadline in their marketing efforts. [More]

 

A New Report Assesses Child Well-Being in the U.S.

 

On July 22, 2014, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2014 Kids Count Data Book, an annual report assessing how children are faring in the United States. The report ranks states on overall child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa are the three highest-ranked states. In general, children made gains in the education and health domains, but experienced setbacks in the economic well-being and family and community domains. [More]

 

School Districts Pledge to Support Education Improvements for Male Students of Color

 

In a July 21, 2014 press release, the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) announced that 60 of its large urban school district members have pledged to support President Obama’s $200 million initiative to improve educational outcomes for young African American and Hispanic males. The initiative, called My Brother’s Keeper, includes more investment in early childhood education, reducing disproportionate discipline and drop-out rates, and increasing access to college preparatory courses for male students of color. [More]

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Categories:Education