HHS Announces Plans To Curtail Consumers’ Use Of Short-Term Insurance Policies

June 8, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Jordan Rau- The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have. The plans, designed for people in between jobs or in need of temporary insurance until they secure a regular policy, are cheaper than regular insurance plans. But they also can lack features that the health law requires for other policies, such as coverage for preexisting medical conditions, maternity care and prescription drugs.

Majority of counties to have only one insurer in exchange

June 6, 2016, Daily Journal, Jack Weatherly- Sixty-six of Mississippi’s 82 counties will have only one health insurer participating in the Federal Insurance Exchange next year because of the pullout of UnitedHealthcare, according to the Mississippi Insurance Department. UnitedHealthcare made a bold commitment for 2016 with coverage offered in all 82 counties, giving all residents at least two choices of insurers, and residents in 32 counties with three to choose from. “The fortunate thing is that all 82 counties will have a carrier that they can go to and get coverage” in 2017, said Bob Williams, director of the Life and Health Actuarial Division of the Mississippi Insurance Department.

U.S. States That Embraced Healthcare Reform Are Seeing Less Debt Sent to Collection Agencies

June 7, 2016, Bloomberg, Luke Kawa- Early evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is working - at least in one important respect, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Analysts Nicole Dussault, Maxim Pinkovskiy, and Basit Zafar state that the primary purpose of this law “is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances.” And they’ve found a big difference between indebtedness trends in states that embraced the Medicaid expansion versus the ones that did not.

John Oliver hosts largest one-time TV giveaway - by forgiving $15 million in medical debt

June 6, 2016, VOX, German Lopez- Debt collectors make up one of the most reviled industries in America. The Federal Trade Commission says it gets more complaints about them than any other industry. Collectors often go after the debts of dead people or people who are in debt after getting lifesaving medical care. And often collectors use incredibly sleazy, horrifying tactics - like calling people’s homes and literally threatening to kill their dogs. On Last Week Tonight on Sunday, John Oliver demonstrated that anyone can be a debt collector - in a stunt that proved just how easy it is to start a debt collection agency and start harassing people for their money.

Facing budget ax, Louisiana hospitals welcome looming Medicaid expansion

July 1, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer- One of the nation’s poorest, least-insured and unhealthiest states is launching a major effort Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents. Hospitals and other healthcare providers there say it can’t happen soon enough. Surprisingly, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature is largely going along, in part because the big infusion of federal Medicaid money will ease the state’s dire budget problems. But the expansion still doesn’t solve the problem of a big budget shortfall that’s threatening the survival of some of the state’s nine formerly public safety net hospitals, an issue that may take lawmakers into a special legislative session this month

ZIKA! Medicaid will cover mosquito repellent

June 2, 2016, MS News Now, Marsha Thompson- The federal government has approved Medicaid to cover mosquito repellent, as concerns about the Zika virus are spreading globally. The Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called Microcephaly. This disease is already taking a heartbreaking toll, as the 3rd baby born with the disease in the U.S. has died.  Zika can be spread through sex from an infected partners and you may not even know that you are infected. Health and Human Services sent an informational letter to the Mississippi Medicaid division that said Medicaid services can help prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus.