Argument made more doctor visits, drugs will save Medicaid money

December 18, 2017, Daily Journal, Bobby Harrison- Various groups, including a Medicaid Advisory Committee, are recommending that Mississippi Medicaid recipients be allowed more visits to the doctor and more access to prescription medication.Steve Demetropoulos, a Gulf Coast emergency room physician and chairman of the legislatively created Advisory Committee, said that by spending a little more money “on the front end, we can save on the back end.” He said, “If we can keep them (Medicaid recipients) out of the hospital or out of the emergency room, we can save more revenue.” Under current Medicaid law, most of the state’s approximately 710,000 Medicaid recipients are limited to five prescriptions per month and some are limited to one visit to the doctor per month.“The number of prescriptions is not enough,” Demetropoulos recently told members of the Senate Medicaid Committee.

CHIPS funding running out in many states; Mississippi still has time

December 17, 2017, Daily Journal, Michaela Gibson Morris- A Mississippi has time left on the clock for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but other states are starting to scramble.Reuters reported this week that many states are facing funding issues because Congress has not reauthorized the program that provides health insurance for children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance. Virginia sent out notices this week that its CHIP program will end Jan. 31 without new federal funding. Connecticut is due to mail similar notices. More than a dozen states, including New York and Utah, are poised to send warning notices to families by the end of this month.Mississippi officials have estimated they have funding for CHIP through the end of April. Across the country, nearly 9 million children are affected. In Mississippi, about 80,000 children rely on CHIP to access health care.

Medicaid director resigns shortly after refusing to support program change

December 17, 2017, Daily Journal, Bobby Harrison- Only a day before David Dzielak abruptly resigned his post as executive director of the Division of Medicaid, he declined to embrace a proposal of his boss, Gov. Phil Bryant, to turn over Medicaid eligibility verification to the Department of Human Services. During a meeting of the House Medicaid Committee on Thursday, Dzielak was asked his thoughts on moving the responsibility to verify the eligibility of Medicaid recipients from the Division of Medicaid to the Department of Human Services. Dzielak, simply said, “I can’t really comment.” But Dzielak, who had served since 2012 as executive director of Medicaid, did say that the Mississippi Division of Medicaid consistently had one of the lowest error rates in the nation in terms of ensuring those on the health care program are eligible.

Trump officials decline to extend ObamaCare sign-up deadline

December 16, 2017, The Hill, Peter Sullivan-The Trump administration declined to extend the ObamaCare sign-up period amid the last-minute surge of enrollees, a break with the precedent set under the Obama administration.The enrollment period ended Friday at midnight. The Obama administration in previous years consistently extended the deadline for a few days to accommodate the high number of enrollees who wait until the last minute to enroll.However, the Trump administration this year declined to give such an extension.Officials declined to say whether there would be an extension for most of the day on Friday, but on Friday night the official Twitter account wrote that there would not be.

Affordable Care Act Deadline Approaches

December 15, 2017, WJTV, Terrance Friday- The countdown is on to get people signed up for health care coverage, and service providers across the country are trying to get that message out before it’s too late.The deadline for the affordable care act is midnight.
As we have reported there have been several efforts to repeal the affordable care act, but it is still the law of the land. It is a requirement to have that insurance and several organizations have been working with locals to make sure they have coverage.“We all know that having health insurance ensures not only a health stability for the family, but also financial security,” Health Help Mississippi, Senior Program Manager Keri Abernathy said. “We know that some people are just one illness away from bankruptcy so having health insurance is imperative.”

Health groups call on states to override Trump ObamaCare order

December 14, 2017, The Hill, Peter Sullivan- Health-care groups are urging states to override changes made under an executive order from President Trump, warning the moves threaten to undermine insurance markets.A coalition of leading health-care groups, including America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, wrote a letter Thursday to state insurance commissioners urging them to take action to counteract an order signed by Trump in October.That order aimed to ease ObamaCare rules and opened up cheaper insurance plans that do not have to meet all of the ObamaCare requirements.But the groups warn that healthy people could be siphoned away into these skimpier, cheaper plans, causing instability and rising premiums in the market for everyone else.