Tuesday, June 27, 2017

MMO takes the offensive

Sometimes I feel very coddled: I practice in southwest Ohio, and rarely hear about shenanigans in the exact opposite corner of the state, which also happens to be the home turf of Medical Mutual of Ohio. They keep me in the loop regarding products and marketing decisions, but today I got this "Special Broker Update" from them:

"For years, we’ve wondered why we couldn’t win government and other public sector business in Northwest Ohio, despite submitting what we believe were very competitive bids. Recently we learned through a public records request that our chief competitor for this business has likely violated Ohio’s ethics laws. As a result, Medical Mutual filed a lawsuit today against FrontPath Health Coalition."


The email goes on to address specific instances and cites public records. Unfortunately, I know nothing of the background save for this email, so I've reached out to MMO's Media Relations folks to help fill in some of the gaps. In the meantime, interested readers can click here for a copy of the Special Update.

More ACA Anecdata

Another wonderful renewal case study. As we've reported over the years, we have a number of grandmothered plans ("If you like your plan, you can keep it.")("But make no changes"). Ralph and Laura (and their son) have a Medical Mutual "Wellness HSA" plan: $3,000 per person/$6,000 per family deductible, the 100% (and includes "free" annual physicals).

Their current rate is $844, and is slated to increase some 14% (to $960 per month) in September.



Went to the 404Care.gov site, and found that things could be worse.

The Cheapest plan, from CareSource, runs just over $800 a month, and sports a $13,300 family deductible (and an additional additional $1,000 out-of-pocket maximum). So they'd save $2,000 a year, but take on over $83,000 in additional risk.

The Closest I could find was Premier Health Gold, with a $3,500 individual deductible, but $12,000 family maximum, for a bargain basement $1,600 monthly premium.

Now granted, these are not apples-to-apples comparisons, but as close as we can really get. Sad.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The More You Know: Flooding the zone

This, courtesy of PCI:

[click to embiggen]

[Hat Tip: LexisNexis]

Friday, June 23, 2017

Health Wonk Review is up

HWR co-founder Joe Paduda hosts this week's eclectic roundup of healthcare-related punditry. And it's really two editions in one: ACA/AHCA and then, not.


A Must Read: (Re)Peeling an Onion

Writing at Cut Jib Newsletter blog, FoIB tsrblke offers an excellent take on the AHCA/BCRA (Better Care Reconciliation Act), as he attempts to thread the needle between two very different perspectives: Avik Roy and Michael Cannon.

I must say, he does an admirable job. Some examples:

- As regards Medicaid rollback: "slowing the growth of Medicaid is a huge win, if you think it will stick." [emphasis in original]

- Regarding tax credits: "still relying on “tax credits” that are paid directly to the insurer masking the true cost of the insurance."

And there's more. It's quite a good analysis, offered from (and for) a layman's perspective (although he's a PhD candidate in a medical-related field).


Kudos to us!

Once again, we've been named a Best Men's Health Blog by Healthline:

"Our editors carefully selected the most up-to-date, informative, and inspiring blogs that aim to uplift their readers through education and personal stories. We’re glad to have you on the list!"

That's two years in a row - not too shabby.

Thanks, Healthline!

(And click here for a list of all this year's winners)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Giving Back

We've written before about Gleaner Life's commitment to community:

"Since 1980, The Gleaner Life Insurance Society Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $2.6 million in scholarships"

To be fair, that's for the direct benefit of Gleaner Life customers, which is fine. Now, though, they're rolling out another program, this one aimed at the communities in which their policyholder live and work. These "Give and Grow Grants" put real dollars directly into the hands of folks who want to help "to improve their communities through volunteer service projects." These can be anything from "cleaning up a local park to providing lunches for the homeless."

And it's not just the $250: the company's also providing branded t-shirts and resources for promoting projects. Eight of these grants are awarded every month; at $250 (plus shirts) each, that's $24,000 annually.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Now a major motion picture (for certain values of "major"):
I will point out however, that the clip neglected to mention another major #Fail; that is, folks who are insured often can't afford to actually use their plans.

#ACAWinning: Status Update [UPDATED]

 (Please scroll down for update)

From FoIB Holly R, two (interesting?) developments:

Some Evergreen state citizens are in for a shock come November:

"Two Washington State Counties Lack ACA Health Insurer for 2018"

The local Blue Cross franchise, Premera, has decided to dump these two (so far, but who knows, maybe more) due to cost concerns for insureds neighboring counties.

And in Iowa, Hawkeye state residents can look forward to rate increases topping 43% (43.5%, to be precise), just as we predicted. The good news is that Medica has decided to stick around for the 2018 plan year, but at promise comes with a price:

"We know this will impact people who do not currently receive a subsidy particularly hard," says the carrier's VP. Which is true, but of course misses the big picture that the subsidies don't come from out of thin air. Gee, wonder where they do come from.

Econ 101, how does it work?

Ah, well.

UPDATE: And now The Badger State joins the fun:

"Anthem [BX] ... has made the difficult decision to reduce its 2018 Individual plan offering in Wisconsin to one eoof-exchange medical plan in Menominee county only"

This is similar to their Ohio game plan for next year; one supposes for the same reason:

"They are doing this so it doesn't constitute a full exit. Under HIPAA rules full exits require insurers to leave markets for five years."

Tick, tock...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UHC vs Premier: Mid-June Update

Got another letter from Premier today. Basically, they're lamenting that UHC isn't folding like a cheap suit offering more concessions. Premier says that they've agreed to hold off on rate increases until year's end, and to offer only nominal increases for '18 and '19 (although, given that they're already apparently at the top of the heap rate-wise to begin with, this position seems a bit self-serving).

They're also asking folks to contact UHC corporate directly, to push for an acceptable resolution.

So, now the ball's in UHC's court.

We'll continue to keep our readers posted as things move forward (or don't).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Oy Canada, Part 5,294

As we've often noted, the ACA was always designed as a path to a single payer, nationalized health "care" scheme. And we've also noted many times that CanuckCare (seems to be a primary role model for that goal) isn't doing so well as a panacea of health care delivery.

"There’s just one problem: The Canadian model of universal coverage is failing."

The Canadian system is government funded, but delivered by what are essentially heavily-regulated private entities. And we really do mean "heavily regulated:"

"Canada’s government-controlled health-care system has become more restrictive than communist China’s."


And something else which was new to me: we've long known that private, supplemental health plans are available Up North
©, but what we did not knoiw is that "it applies only to procedures and services that fall outside the CHA;" that is, onl;y foer things like dental, vision and prescription meds.

And, of course, it's going broke, as "it relies almost entirely on current taxpayers to subsidize the disproportionately large health-care needs of elderly Canadians in their final few years of life."


[Hat Tip: Dr. Shane‏]