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Congress, Administration Serious About Tackling Health Care Costs

As more people struggle with their medical bills, Congress has been introducing a raft of new legislation aimed at cutting costs and making pricing more transparent. The multi-pronged, bipartisan effort targets the lack of transparency in pricing particularly for pharmaceuticals, as well as surprise medical bills that have left many Americans reeling, and there are…

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Insurers Will Pay Record Amount of Rebates to Small Group Plans

While most businesses rarely get rebate checks from their group health insurer, this year may be different as insurance companies are expected to pay back record excess premiums, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The landmark insurance law requires that insurers spend at least 80% of their premium income on medical care and medications,…

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New Rule Allows Employers to Pay Workers to Buy Their Own Health Coverage

The Trump administration has issued new rules that would allow employers to provide workers with funds in health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) that can be used to purchase health insurance on the individual market. The rule reverses a long-standing part of the Affordable Care Act that carried hefty fines of up to $36,500 a year per…

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DOJ Files Brief Asking Court to Throw Out ACA

The stakes for the future of the Affordable Care Act just got higher after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief with a federal appeals court to strike down every facet of the landmark legislation. The DOJ’s filing in the case states that the law is unconstitutional in its entirety and should be struck…

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Judge Shoots Down Association Plans

A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s rules for association plans, saying they are an attempt to allow employers to skirt their obligations under the Affordable Care Act. The rules that the Department of Labor finalized last year allow employers to band together as “associations” for no other purpose than to purchase health insurance…

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Proposed Rules Would Affect Prescription Drug Plans

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has floated proposed regulations that would affect drug benefits for group plans and association plans and attempt to reduce drug expenses for health plan enrollees and drug plans. While the rules seem to be focused on individual plans sold on government-run exchanges, three of the changes would also…

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Regulators Take Steps to Help Grandfathered Plans

Regulators are in the early stages of creating rules that make it easier for health plans that were grandfathered in before the Affordable Care Act took effect to continue providing coverage. The number of workers enrolled in plans that were in effect before the ACA was enacted in 2010 has been shrinking, and as of…

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As More Employers Rethink High Deductible Plans, They Tackle Other Costs

A new study has found that more and more large employers are ditching high-deductible health plans as the job market tightens and they need to boost improve their health insurance offerings to retain and attract talent, and saddle their employees with less of the cost burden. The change is also in response to the increasing…

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Surprise Medical Bills and ‘Balance Billing’ in Crosshairs

When your medical care provider charges more than your insurance company is willing to reimburse, you may get a bill asking you to pay the difference – a practice called “balance billing.” The Trump administration is moving to put a stop to the practice. In a recent White House round table on limiting health care…

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Most Drugs Inflation Covered in Increased Premiums

Retail prescription drug spending grew 36% over the four-year period ended Dec. 31, 2016, but out-of-pocket spending for health plan enrollees remained steady, according to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The study, “The Prescription Drug Landscape, Explored,” found that patients are covering the lion’s share of the cost through higher premium outlays,…

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