Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Embarrassment of (Link) Riches

The Inbox is filling up with interesting linkage: many of interest, few really blogworthy on their own.

So, in no particular order, some (hopefully) interest-piquing links:

■ "By February, CMS had spent an average of about $92 per HHS exchange QHP enrollee"

That is, they'd spent almost $100 per (successful?) ObamaPlan victim enrollee. That may not seem like much, but if the numbers HHS is touting are true [ed: uh-hunh], then we're talking hundreds of millions of IT dollars.

Does the ObamaTax actually contain wording that contains the seeds of its own destruction?

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) contains a provision — Section 1332 — that states can use to turn it inside outside"

The little-known Section 1332 allows state Departments of Insurance the opportunity to solicit waivers for certain plan provisions, including Qualified Health Plan requirements. Something to keep in mind, though:

The verbiage in question is actually called "Sec. 1332. Waiver for State innovation," and allows states to "apply to the [HHS] Secretary for the waiver of all or any requirements described in paragraph."

But it's not open-ended; rather, it's an opportunity for a given state to experiment a bit, while requiring of the state a "10-year budget plan for such plan that is budget neutral for the Federal Government."

Sweet deal for the Feds.

As if confirmation was needed that the ObamaTax has lead to provider shortages, and at least a suspicion that rationing is just around the corner (if not already here):

"5 ways insurers can limit care access in this brave new world ... Insurers are not sitting back with open arms and welcoming all of the poorest, sickest and most costly patients"

No kidding. When increased demand (in the form of newly insured, both on ObamaPlans and Medicaid) meets static (or perhaps even shrinking) supply, something's gotta give.

Here's a new twist on the ol' Three R's: reinsurance, risk corridor and risk-adjustment. These also happen to comprise some underlying reasons why insurers' own financial health may face some challenges.

According to Steve Zaharuk, a senior vice president at Moody’s Investors, "although exchange qualified health plan (QHP) enrollment has been strong, insurers have given few details about QHP underwriting results ... At best insurers were predicting a break-even scenario, but most were anticipating losing money on the business for the full year.”

Not a great long-term business strategy. Which actually ties in nicely with...

FoIB Jeff M tips us to this news out of The Tarheel State:

"Carolinas HealthCare System has eliminated roughly 100 jobs and is looking to cut its 2015 budget by $110 million"

Which seems to me to be a combination of the four previous links. One wonders how many more such reductions we'll see as we enter the next Open Enrollment season, and even more folks jump in (or don't).
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