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Breaking News: Individuals May Opt-Out of Insurance Program in Health Care Reform

August 24, 2012 1 comment

Breaking News regarding health care reform.

Individuals are not  required to participate in health insurance programs under health care reform. Section 1555 of P.L. 111-148 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) allows for individuals not to be required to participate in any health insurance program. They will not be penalized if they do not participate. Language from the provision is listed below and can also be read HERE

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Section 1555 – Freedom Not To Participate in Health Insurance Programs
No individual, company, business, nonprofit entity, or health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall be required to participate in any Federal health insurance program created under this Act (or any amendments made by this Act), or in any Federal health insurance program expanded by this Act (or any such amendments), and there shall be no penalty or fine imposed upon any such issuer for choosing not to participate in such programs.
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Stay tuned for more on this Breaking News story regarding health care reform. For more information on health care reform, please click  HERE

What Every Gynecologist Should Know About Health Care Reform

August 20, 2012 1 comment

Below is what every  Gynecologist should know about health care reform.

The provisions listed below will have a direct impact on women’s healthcare and gynecologists need to take the time to familiarize themselves with the new regulations.
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Section 1201 Subsection 2704 – Prohibition of Preexisting Conditions
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition (i.e. pregnancy) exclusion with respect to such plan or coverage.

Section 2301 – Coverage for Birthing Centers
A State shall provide separate payments to providers administering prenatal labor and delivery or postpartum care in a freestanding birth center (as defined in subparagraph (B)), such as nurse midwives and other providers of services such as birth attendants recognized under State law, as determined appropriate by the Secretary. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term `birth attendant’ means an individual who is recognized or registered by the State involved to provide health care at childbirth and who provides such care within the scope of practice under which the individual is legally authorized to perform such care under State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by State law), regardless of whether the individual is under the supervision of, or associated with, a physician or other health care provider. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed as changing State law requirements applicable to a birth attendant.

Section 3111 – Payment for Bone Density Tests
For dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry services (bone density, identified in 2006 by HCPCS codes 76075 and 76077 (and any succeeding codes)) furnished during 2010 and 2011, instead of the payment amount that would otherwise be determined under this section for such years, the payment amount shall be equal to 70 percent of the product.

Section 4104 – Elimination of Co-Pay
Elimination of coinsurance (co-pay) on preventive services (ie. physical exams). Elimination of coinsurance (co-pays) in outpatient hospital settings.

Section 4107 – Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Services for Pregnant Women
Requiring Coverage of Counseling and Pharmacotherapy for Cessation of Tobacco Use by Pregnant Women- Section 1905 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d), as amended by sections 2001(a)(3)(B) and 2303, is further amended–For purposes of this title, the term `counseling and pharmacotherapy for cessation of tobacco use by pregnant women’ means diagnostic, therapy, and counseling services and pharmacotherapy (including the coverage of prescription and nonprescription tobacco cessation agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration) for cessation of tobacco use by pregnant women who use tobacco products or who are being treated for tobacco use that is furnished–by or under the supervision of a physician; or by any other health care professional who–is legally authorized to furnish such services under State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by State law) of the State in which the services are furnished; and is authorized to receive payment for other services under this title or is designated by the Secretary for this purpose. If you a are dependent on tobacco and you will like to quit it you can visit www.kratomcrazy.com where you can get information about a natural drug that fights anxiety. Services recommended with respect to pregnant women in `Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update: A Clinical Practice Guideline’, published by the Public Health Service in May 2008, or any subsequent modification of such Guideline; and such other services that the Secretary recognizes to be effective for cessation of tobacco use by pregnant women.

Section 10212 – Pregnancy Assistance Fund
The Secretary, in collaboration and coordination with the Secretary of Education (as appropriate), shall establish a Pregnancy Assistance Fund to be administered by the Secretary, for the purpose of awarding competitive grants to States to assist pregnant and parenting teens and women.

Section 10413 – Young Women’s Breast Health Awareness and Support of Breast Cancer Diagnosis
The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in consultation with the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall conduct an education campaign among physicians and other health care professionals to increase awareness of breast health, symptoms, and early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in young women, including specific risk factors such as family history of cancer and women that may be at high risk for breast cancer, such as Ashkenazi Jewish population; on how to provide counseling to young women about their breast health, including knowledge of their family cancer history and importance of providing regular clinical breast examinations concerning the importance of discussing healthy behaviors, and increasing awareness of services and programs available to address overall health and wellness, and making patient referrals to address tobacco cessation, good nutrition, and physical activity; on when to refer patients to a health care provider with genetics expertise; on how to provide counseling that addresses long-term survivorship and health concerns of young women diagnosed with breast cancer; and on when to provide referrals to organizations and institutions that provide credible health information and substantive assistance and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Health is a really important topic therefore you should try to take care of yourself in any possible way, by visiting massage chairs expert you will find a way of keeping yourself relaxed and away from stress which will benefit your health.
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To stay in compliance with the new health care reform provisions, all Gynecologists must study the provisions above. For more information and a complete list of new provisions, click HERE

What Every Internist Should Know About Health Care Reform

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Below is what every Internist should know about health care reform.

The new regulations provisions will have a direct impact on internal medicine. It is imperative that internists take the time to review provisions listed below, as well as any other pertinent new changes.
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Section 1001 Subsection 2713 – Coverage of Preventive Health Care
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for-evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of `A’ or `B’ in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force; immunizations that have in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the individual involved; and with respect to infants, children, and adolescents, evidence-informed preventive care and screenings provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Section 1201 Subsection 2704 – Prohibition of Preexisting Conditions
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion with respect to such plan or coverage.

Section 4104 – Elimination of Co-Pay
Elimination of coinsurance (co-pay) on preventive services (ie. physical exams). Elimination of coinsurance (co-pays) in outpatient hospital settings.

Section 4108 – Incentive for Prevention of Chronic Diseases
Incentives for prevention of chronic diseases. A program described in this paragraph is a comprehensive, evidence-based, widely available, and easily accessible program, proposed by the State and approved by the Secretary, that is designed and uniquely suited to address the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries and has demonstrated success in helping individuals achieve one or more of the following: ceasing use of tobacco products, controlling or reducing their weight, lowering their cholesterol, lowering their blood pressure, avoiding the onset of diabetes or, in the case of a diabetic, improving the management of that condition.

Section 5501 – Expanded Access to Primary Care
Expanded access to primary care. In the case of primary care services furnished on or after January 1, 2011, and before January 1, 2016, by a primary care practitioner, in addition to the amount of payment that would otherwise be made for such services under this part, there also shall be paid (on a monthly or quarterly basis) an amount equal to 10 percent of the payment amount for the service under this part.
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Every Internist must take the time to read and understand the above regulations and provisions. For more information and a complete list of new provisions, click  HERE

What Every Pediatrician Should Know About Health Care Reform

August 15, 2012 1 comment

Below is what every Pediatrician should know about health care reform.  

The provisions listed below will have a direct impact on pediatric care and pediatricians need to take the time to familiarize themselves with the new regulations.
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New Pediatric Regulations

Section 1001 Subsection 2713 – Coverage of Preventive Health Care
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for-evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of `A’ or `B’ in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force; immunizations that have in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the individual involved; and with respect to infants, children, and adolescents, evidence-informed preventive care and screenings provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Section 1001 Subsection 2714 – Extension of Child Coverage
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that provides dependent coverage of children shall continue to make such coverage available for an adult child (who is not married) until the child turns 26 years of age.

Section 1201 Subsection 2704 – Prohibition of Preexisting Conditions
A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion with respect to such plan or coverage.

Section 2004 – Medicaid Coverage for Former Foster Children
Medicaid coverage for former foster children who were in foster care under the responsibility of a State for more than 6 months.

Section 2302 – Concurrent Care for Children
A voluntary election to have payment made for hospice care for a child (as defined by the State) shall not constitute a waiver of any rights of the child to be provided with, or to have payment made under this title for, services that are related to the treatment of the child’s condition for which a diagnosis of terminal illness has been made.

Section 4204 – Immunizations
Funds received under a grant under this subsection shall be used to implement interventions that are recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (as established by the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or other evidence-based interventions, including–providing immunization reminders or recalls for target populations of clients, patients, and consumers;educating targeted populations and health care providers concerning immunizations in combination with one or more other interventions; reducing out-of-pocket costs for families for vaccines and their administration; carrying out immunization-promoting strategies for participants or clients of public programs, including assessments of immunization status, referrals to health care providers, education, provision of on-site immunizations, or incentives for immunization; providing for home visits that promote immunization through education, assessments of need, referrals, provision of immunizations, or other services; providing reminders or recalls for immunization providers;conducting assessments of, and providing feedback to, immunization providers; any combination of one or more interventions described in this paragraph; or immunization information systems to allow all States to have electronic databases for immunization records.

Section 5203 Subsection 775 – Pediatric Loan Forgiveness Program
The Secretary shall establish and carry out a pediatric specialty loan repayment program under which the eligible individual agrees to be employed full-time for a specified period (which shall not be less than 2 years) in providing pediatric medical subspecialty, pediatric surgical specialty, or child and adolescent mental and behavioral health care, including substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

Section 5501 – Expanded Access to Primary Care
Expanded access to primary care. In the case of primary care services furnished on or after January 1, 2011, and before January 1, 2016, by a primary care practitioner, in addition to the amount of payment that would otherwise be made for such services under this part, there also shall be paid (on a monthly or quarterly basis) an amount equal to 10 percent of the payment amount for the service under this part.
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Every Pediatrician  needs to make sure that they take the time to familiarize themselves with the above regulations. To learn more, please click HERE

Health Insurance Companies Profits Drop 147% Due to Health Care Reform

August 6, 2012 2 comments

Health insurance company profit falls 147% due to health care reform.

Insurance company profits are falling despite the fact that enrollment is skyrocketing. Falling profits are specifically due to insurance companies violating Health and Human Services’ ingenious medical loss ratio rule which requires companies to pay premiums on actual medical care (not profits) or be forced to pay rebates back to their customers. Insurance companies are on pace to pay out $1.3 billion this year alone on rebates. The fact that insurance company profits is falling is a clear sign that health care reform is working!
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Aetna  – Profit drops 15% (Source 5)
Cigna –  Profit drops 44%  (Source 1, 2, 4)
Humana – Profit drops 80% (Source 3, 5)
WellPoint (aka BCBS) – Profits drops 8% (Source 6)
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Health insurance company profits continue to fall due to the implementation of health care reform. Executives and  shareholders will continue to lose profits as long as they continue to violate Health and Human Services’ ingenious medical loss ratio.

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Sources:

ICD-10 Implementation To Cost Physicians and Hospitals Millions

July 31, 2012 1 comment

ICD-10 implementation is expected to happen now (after delays) in October 2014. The American Medical Association and Medical Group Management Associations state that implementation will cost a single  physician $27,000 – $29,000. This amount of money could potentially be detrimental to a physician ‘s (and even a hospitals) bottom line. Below is how much ICD-10 could potentially cost physicians (and hospitals). The calculations you will find below are based upon the number of physicians a facility has. Here is what some of our nation’s top hospitals might pay.

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Cleveland Clinic                                                  –       $70,000,000   – $75,000,000

Duke Medical Center                                         –       $39,000,000    – $42,000,000

Emory University Hospital                              –       $27,000,0000  – $29,000,000

Johns Hopkins Hospital                                 –        $57,000,000     – $62,000,000

Massachusetts General Hospital                  –       $48,000,000 – $51,000,000

Mayo Clinic                                                         –        $99,000,000   – $107,000,000

Northwestern Memorial Hospital                 –        $48,000,000  – $51,000,000

NY Presbyterian Hospital                                –      $165,000,000  – $178,000,000

Ochsner Health System                                   –       $25,000,000    – $27,000,000

Texas Medical Center                                        –      $540,000,000  – $580,000,000

UCLA Medical Center                                        –       $52,000,000    -$56,000,000

Vanderbilt University Medical Center          –      $324,000,000  –  $348,000,0000

Timeline of Taxes and Penalties in the Affordable Care Act

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Below is a timeline and  listing of when the taxes and penalty provisions of the Affordable Care Act will be implemented.

Starting in 2009

(Sec. 9007) Establishes new requirements applicable to nonprofit hospitals. The requirements would include a periodic community needs assessment and certain limitations on charges.

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(Sec. 9021) Provides an exclusion from gross income for the value of specified Indian tribal health benefits.

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Starting in 2010

Imposes a ten percent tax on amounts paid for indoor tanning services in lieu of the tax on cosmetic surgery. Indoor tanning services are services that use an electronic product with one or more ultraviolet lamps to induce skin tanning. The tax would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

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Starting in 2011

(Sec. 9004) Increases the additional tax for HSA withdrawals prior to age 65 that are used for purposes other than qualified medical expenses from 10 percent to 20 percent. The additional tax for Archer MSA withdrawals not used for qualified medical expenses would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent

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(Sec. 9008) Imposes an annual flat fee of $2.3 billion on the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector beginning in 2010. This non‐deductible fee would be allocated across the industry according to market share and would not apply to companies with sales of branded pharmaceuticals of $5 million or less.
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(Sec. 10108) Requires employers that offer coverage and make a contribution to provide free choice vouchers to qualified employees for the purchase of qualified health plans through Exchanges. The free choice voucher must be equal to the contribution that the employer would have made to its own plan.

Employees qualify if their required contribution under the employer’s plan would be between 8 and 9.8 percent of their income. Excludes free choice vouchers from taxation and voucher recipients are not eligible for tax credits.

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Starting in 2012

(Sec. 9006) Requires businesses that pay any amount greater than $600 during the year to corporate and non‐corporate providers of property and services to file an information report with each provider and with the IRS. Information reporting is already required on payments for services to non‐corporate providers.

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(Sec. 9022) Establishes Simple Cafeteria Plans that ease participation restrictions so that small businesses can provide tax‐free benefits to their employees. Under this provision, self‐employed individuals are included as qualified employees. The provision also exempts employers who make contributions for employees under a simple cafeteria plan from pension plan nondiscrimination requirements applicable to highly compensated and key employees.

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Starting in 2013

(Sec. 4375) Imposes a fee on each specified health insurance policies and self‐ insured health plans for each policy year ending after September 30, 2012, a fee equal to the product of $2 ($1 in the case of policy years ending during fiscal year 2013) multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the policy or plan. (Termination September 30, 2019).

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(Sec. 9009) Imposes an annual flat fee of $2 billion on the medical device manufacturing sector beginning in 2010. This non‐deductible fee would be allocated across the industry according to market share and would not apply to companies with sales of medical devices in the U.S. of $5 million or less. The fee does not apply to any sale of a Class I product or any sale of a Class II product that is primarily sold to consumers at retail for not more than $100 per unit (under the FDA product classification system).

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(Sec. 9012) Eliminates the deduction for the subsidy for employers who maintain prescription drug plans for their Medicare Part D eligible retirees.

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(Sec. 9013) Increases the adjusted gross income threshold for claiming the itemized deduction for medical expenses from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. Individuals age 65 and older would be able to claim the itemized deduction for medical expenses at 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income through 2016.

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(Sec. 9014) Limits the deductibility of executive compensation under Section 162(m) for insurance providers if at least 25 percent of the insurance provider’s gross premium income from health business is derived from health insurance plans that meet the minimum essential coverage requirements in the bill (“covered health insurance provider”). The deduction is limited to $500,000 per taxable year and applies to all officers, employees, directors, and other workers or service providers performing services for or on behalf of a covered health insurance provider.

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(Sec. 10902) Indexes the $2,500 limit on contributions to a flexible spending arrangement by CPI‐U for years after December 31, 2011.

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(Sec. 10906) Modifies the increased HI tax rate for single taxpayers with income in excess of $200,000 and couples filing jointly with incomes in excess of $250,000 from 0.5 percentage points to 0.9 percentage points.

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Starting in 2014

(Sec. 36B) The premium assistance credit amount is calculated on sliding scale starting at two percent of income for those at or above 100 percent of poverty and phasing out to 9.8 percent of income for those at 400 percent of poverty. The reference premium is the second lowest cost silver plan available in the individual market in the rating area in which the taxpayer resides. The premium assistance credits do not take into account benefits mandated by States. Employees offered coverage by an employer under which the plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent of such costs or the premium exceeds 9.8 percent of the employee’s income are eligible for the premium assistance credit. This section also provides for reconciliation of the premium assistance credit amount at the end of the taxable year and for a study on the affordability of health insurance coverage by the Comptroller General.

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(Sec. 125 (f)(3)) Plans provided through the exchange will not be an eligible benefit under an employer‐sponsored cafeteria plan, except in the case of qualified employers (i.e., small employers, and, after 2017, large employers in electing states) offering a choice of plans to their employees through the exchange.

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(Sec. 1514) Requires large employers to report to the Secretary whether it offers to its full‐time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer‐sponsored plan, the length of any applicable waiting period, the lowest cost option in each of the enrollment categories under the plan, and the employer’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan. The employer must also report the number and names of full‐time employees receiving coverage.

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(Sec. 9010) Imposes an annual flat fee of $6.7 billion on the health insurance sector beginning in 2010. This non‐deductible fee would be allocated across the industry according to market share and would not apply to companies whose net premiums written are $25 million or less and whose fees from administration of employer self‐insured plans are $5 million or less. The public option, as well coops and the national plan, will be subject to the insurance provider fee.

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Starting in 2018

(Sec. 1401)  Reduces the revenue collected by the tax by 80 percent. This is achieved by: delaying the application of the tax until 2018, which gives the plans time to implement and realize the cost savings of reform; increasing the dollar thresholds to $10,200 for single coverage and $2 for family coverage ($11,850 and $30,950 for retirees and employees in high risk professions); excluding stand‐alone dental and vision plans from the tax; and permitting an employer to reduce the cost of the coverage when applying the tax if the employer’s age and gender demographics are not representative age and gender demographics of a national risk pool. Under the modified provision, the dollar thresholds are indexed to inflation and the dollar thresholds are automatically increased in 2018 if CBO is wrong in its forecast of the premium inflation rate between now and 2018.

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