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Posted inHealth

2018 exchange plans could cover fewer hospitals, doctors, drugs

Insurance companies that sell coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange next year will be allowed to cover fewer hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs under changes the exchange’s board approved Tuesday. Officials hope those changes could help offset rate increases caused by the increased price and use of medical care and prescription drugs.

Posted inHealth

Kevin Counihan on the ACA: ‘Whatever happens, Trump is going to own this’

Kevin Counihan used to run the health insurance exchanges that serve most of the United States. Now he’s a customer. He talked to The Mirror about efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, why the health law has gotten more popular since Barack Obama left office, how to keep insurance companies from fleeing exchanges, and what can be done to make it easier to buy coverage.

Posted inHealth

Yeah, CT health care costs are high, but which ones are highest?

The amount paid for a cesarean childbirth and newborn care in the hospital, for example, averaged $20,107 in Connecticut – 26 percent above the national average of $15,917, according to data based on claims paid by three private insurance companies. But costs also ranged within the state, averaging $20,773 in the Bridgeport area, $19,715 in the Hartford region, and $18,915 in and around New Haven.

Posted inHealth

Expert: Transparency, savvy patients, competition key in tackling health care prices

Zack Cooper recently co-authored a high-profile paper linking higher hospital prices to market power. He advocates for strong antitrust enforcement when it comes to health care consolidation. But when his father was very sick, Cooper told state policymakers, he wanted him to go to a large medical center that treated a high volume of patients with the same condition. “There’s this tension,” he said.

Posted inHealth

In shoreline cancer treatment dispute, questions about hospital competition

What began with a plan to replace an aging piece of medical equipment has turned into a dispute over the delivery of cancer care along Connecticut’s affluent shoreline. And at a time when policymakers have expressed worries about preserving competition in the state’s fast-consolidating health care market, one side has suggested the case highlights questions about competition – and the way state regulation can limit it.

Posted inHealth

How well will new rules on health care cost transparency work?

Lisa Freeman recently tried an experiment: Before having a medical diagnostic test, she tried to figure out what it would cost. “It took no less than five phone calls, and I still never got to the end of the thing,” she said. A major transparency law intended to change that is taking effect this year. How will it work in practice? Health care providers say it might be bumpy at first.