Kentucky Primary Care Alliance accountable care organization saves Medicare nearly $2 million

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Kentucky Primary Care Alliance says its Medicare accountable care organization, in its first year, saved Medicare nearly $2 million. Accountable care organizations were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to encourage doctors, hospitals and other providers to work together to provide coordinated patient care as a way to cut back on...

Changes to Medicaid program mean Kentuckians may need to work, volunteer to remain eligible

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Trump administration has announced rules changes for the Medicaid program that allow states to require some enrollees to work or volunteer – changes that likely pave the way for Kentucky’s new Medicaid plan to be approved. “Let me be clear to everyone in this room, we will approve proposals that promote community engagement activities,”...

Medicare recipients should compare drug plans annually to avoid ‘significant’ cost increases

If you automatically renew your Medicare drug plan without researching all of the options, you could face significant increases in your 2018 costs, says the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. “If subscribers to these plans do not review their coverage annually, they may be faced with higher monthly premiums, changes in the drugs covered under their plan’s formulary, or increased co-payments...

Urban Institute study predicts Kentucky’s uninsured population would triple if ACA is repealed

By Dustin Pugel Special to KyForward Kentucky would see its uninsured rate more than triple under the proposed Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Urban Institute, Kentucky’s uninsured population would jump by 541,000 people in 2022 based on the proposed changes to the healthcare system. The primary reason for the coverage losses is a cut in federal funding for...

Bevin declines to join governors’ group call for continuation of formula used to fund state Medicaid

By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A bipartisan group of governors, including Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, is asking Congress not to shift health-care costs to the states, a real prospect as the Senate prepares to vote on a bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, Bevin declined to join the group’s request to maintain federal funding rates...

Commentary: Trump budget proposal would harm Kentuckians, push massive costs onto state

By Jason Bailey Special to KyForward President Trump’s budget slashes nutrition, health care, and other important assistance that helps hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians meet basic living standards – food on the table, a roof over their heads, and access to health care – while giving new tax breaks to the wealthy and powerful. The budget stands in stark contrast to the commitments the President...

Rural Blog: Trump’s budget proposal contains major Medicaid cuts; passage in House doubtful

President Trump’s budget proposal, which was released Tuesday and will cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years, will largely hurt the rural working-class voters who propelled him into the White House, Andrew Restuccia, Matthew Nussbaum and Sarah Ferris report for Politico. While Trump promised to help American workers, his “spending blueprint follows established conservative...

Republican health plan proposal wouldn’t affect Medicaid until 2020, still awaits budget office review

House Republicans’ bill to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has “a more conservative vision for the nation’s health-care system, replacing federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual tax credits and grants to help states shape their own policies,” Amy Goldstein, Mike DeBonis and Kelsey Snell report for The Washington Post. “Under two bills...

Bill Straub: Adjustments to Obamacare could have avoided many of the problems GOP now criticize

WASHINGTON – The President of the United States recently allowed that he has proved tardy in offering his long-awaited replacement for the Affordable Care Act because “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,’’ sounding for all the world like an eight-year-old confronting theoretical physics for the first time. The comment is yet another example of those whoppers Donald J. Trump...

Commentary: AARP Kentucky fighting to protect Medicare from increased cost, risk

By Ron Bridges Special to KyForward AARP Kentucky has just launched a campaign to let Congress know we oppose any plan to increase Medicare costs and risk for seniors and today’s workers. We believe Kentuckians have earned Medicare by paying in with each and every paycheck. Proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher system would take health care in the wrong direction – ramping up costs for current...

Eleven Kentucky hospitals among those receiving Medicare cuts due to patient safety issues

The federal government is penalizing 11 Kentucky hospitals for falling short on patient safety in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, two more than last year. Medicare has imposed a 1 percent cut in payments to 769 U.S. hospitals that have high rates of potentially avoidable infections and complications such as blood clots, bedsores and falls. “The reductions apply not only to patient stays...

BBB Trends: Guard your Medicare information; it’s best not to respond to an unsolicited sales pitches

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Senior citizens who are preparing to file for Medicare for the first time or those who need to make changes to their current coverage should be aware that scammers are using a false connection to Medicare to commit medical identity theft. Medical identity theft is different than regular identity theft in that someone uses your personal information to obtain medical...

Creative solutions needed to combat the national problem of skyrocketing drug prices

By Trudy Lieberman Rural Health News Service Recently a tweet from Lauren Sausser, a fine health reporter I know in South Carolina, caught my eye. “Crazy drug prices became personal. My dad will start Keytruda regimen on Friday, $15,000 per infusion, once every three weeks indefinitely.” The high cost of pharmaceuticals had hit home! Her 61-year-old father, Jim McCallister, who lives in Spartanburg,...

Taxpayers on hook for for almost $385 million for emergency room visits for Medicaid patients in 2015

Taxpayers paid nearly $385 million in 2015 for emergency-room visits for Medicaid patients, $9.3 million for cases that were judged not to be emergencies, according to state data gathered by a Louisville television station. About 36 percent of Medicaid recipients visited an emergency room last year, according to data Eric Flack of WAVE-TV obtained from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Of...

Commentary: Health-care consumers finding it more difficult to get help resolving complaints

By Trudy Lieberman Special to KyForward Who protects consumers of healthcare? Two recent emails from readers got me thinking about that question. I don’t mean consumers in their role as patients whose medical well-being is looked after by state medical boards and health departments that police doctors and hospitals. Those organizations don’t always do a perfect job protecting patients from harm,...

Federal health administrator tells Bevin shutting down Kynect will create ‘a number of challenges’

The federal government has told Gov. Matt Bevin what he will need to do to shut down Kynect, the health-insurance exchange started by his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear, and the letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes clear that it will be a complicated task. Bevin has said Kynect performs no functions that can’t be handled by the federal insurance exchange,...