In Louisiana, the rush to sign up for Obamacare highlights a ‘long overdue’ demand for health insura

August 4, 2016, The LA Times, Noam Levey- Patients burst into tears at this city’s glistening new charity hospital when they learned they could get Medicaid health insurance. In Baton Rouge, state officials had to bring in extra workers to process the flood of applications for coverage. And at the call center for one of Louisiana’s private Medicaid plans, operators recorded their busiest day on record. The outpouring began in June, when Louisiana became the 31st state to offer expanded Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act, effectively guaranteeing health insurance to its residents for the first time.

SRHS and Memorial Hospital file second lawsuit against MS Division of Medicaid

August 03, 2016, Gulf Live, Tyler Carter- Singing River Health System and Memorial Hospital have filed a second suit against the Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM) citing their health systems were shorted millions of dollars in the 2014 fiscal year. Days after the suit was filed against the DOM, the state notified both health systems of their request to pursue litigation was denied. Both health systems assert the payment formula used to reimburse community hospitals for care provided to the uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries has a payment methodology contrary to state law and are seeking the recovery of the underpayments and legal fees.

In La. and Ky. Shifts on Medicaid Expansion, a Reminder of Governors’ Power in Health Care

August 3, 2016, The Wall Street Journal, Drew Altman- Two southern states, Louisiana and Kentucky, have reversed positions on Medicaid expansion-after electing new governors. This shift is a reminder, as the presidential contest draws so much focus, that down-ballot races also matter. When it comes to health policy, governors can make a huge difference. n Louisiana, former Gov. Bobby Jindal was perhaps the nation’s foremost opponent of Medicaid expansion. His successor, John Bel Edwards, made expanding the program a central plank of his election campaign.

Humana dumps ACA plans as feds blast its Aetna deal

July 21, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Bob Herman- Just as the U.S. Justice Department formally moved to block the merger between Humana and Aetna, Humana said it is significantly reducing its individual health plans sold on and off the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. Starting in 2017, Humana will sell individual plans in only 11 states, compared with 19 states for this year, the Louisville, Ky.-based insurer said in a release Thursday. The ACA retreat was revealed in a company update to increase its profit estimates for the year.

Three new Zika cases reported in Mississippi

August 1, 2016, The Clarion Ledger, Sarah Fowler- Three new travel-related Zika cases have been reported in Mississippi bringing the state total to 14, according to the state health department. According to a release issued by the Mississippi Department of Health, a Harrison County resident who recently traveled to Honduras is one of the three new reported cases. The two other cases are residents of Panola County who recently traveled to the Caribbean Island of Grenada. State epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs encouraged pregnant women to refrain from traveling to Zika affected countries.

Apps for Rx sticker shock

July 30, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Adam Rubenfire- Jen Radueg had been taking Advair for her asthma for over 15 years when the price under her insurance plan skyrocketed from $60 to $300 this year. She paid the higher charge and tried to reduce her inhaler use to save money, but wasn’t happy with the results. Radueg, a Denver event producer who has had similar issues with her EpiPen prescription, luckily had a sympathetic doctor who was able to find her a alternative, Symbicort, for only $25 per inhaler. But she said she’d prefer some advance warning of how much drugs will cost so she isn’t scrambling to obtain vital medications.